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3 1822 01098 5836 



LORE 



NOTES. 



Vol. I-GUJARAT 



COMPILED FROM MATERIALS COLLECTED BY 



THE LATE A. M. T. JACKSON, INDIAN CIVIL SERVICE. 



R. E. ENTHOVEN, CLE., LCS. 




..\U 



FOLKLORE NOTES. 

VOL. I GUJARAT. 



FOLK . 

LORE J I 

NOTES. 



VOL. I-GUJARAT. 



COMPILED FROM MATERIALS COLLECTED BY 
THE LATE A. M. T. JACKSON, INDIAN CIVIL SERVICE. 



R. E. ENTHOVEN, ci.e., lc.s. 




BRITISH INDIA PRESS, MAZGAON BOMBAY. 
1914 



:^*.c. 



REPRINTED FROM THE " INDIAN ANTIQUARY " 
BY B. MILLEK, SUPERINTENDENT, BRITISH INDIA PRESS, BOMBAY. 



■^^h^ 



Oversize 

^/^ 
30 5 



INTRODUCTION. 



The circumstances attending the murder of Mr. A. M. T. Jackson in Nasik in 
December 19C9 led to the raising of a small subscription among his friends, to be devoted 
to a memorial in some shape or form, showing the respect and affection with which he 
was regarded in Western India. A large part of tlie fund then raised was expended 
on the purchase of his valuable library, which ];ow forms a part of the collection owned 
by the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. It was subsequently decided that 
the balance could nob be better spent than in defraying the cost of publishing certain 
folklore materials which he had collected and intended, at tlie lime of his untimely death, 
to publish in the pages of the Indian Antiquary, These materials were the result of 
an enquiry set on foot by him about the year 1900. His plan of operation was to 
forward, tlirough the agency of the Education Department, Crooke's list of folklore 
questions to schoolmasters in various parts of tlie Presidency. The question paper is given 
below ; the replies form the raw material from which these notes liave been compiled. 
For convenience they are divided into two series : Gujarat and the Konkan. 

I desire at the outset of these introductory remarks to explain that, when at the request 
of the memorial committee I undertook the task of seeing these notes through the press, 
I did not contemplate any critical handling of the materials found in tlie papers made 
over to me. I had neither the leisure nor the knowledge to carry out Mr. Jackson's 
intention, i. e., to edit the notes carefully with such criticisms and comparisons as his 
ripe scholarship would have suggested. I make no claim, tlierefore, to liave effected more 
than to have rescued from the wastepaper basket a number of replies to questions regarding 
the beliefs of the people in Gujarat and the Konkan. The notes as now presented 
doubtless contain much that is trivial, and possibly many inaccuracies ; but among them 
students of folklore may on the other hand discover material of real value — such as they 
are, they will, I trust, repay careful study, and perhaps serve one day to form the basis 
of a further and more comjirehensive examination of the folk-lore of the Bombay 
Presidency — an examination which should not be too long deferred, for the old practices 
and beliefs are yearly tending to decay and vanish in contact with the spread of education. 
The field for enquiry is wide and rich, but workers fail to come forward ; and meanwhile 
the old beliefs and practices slowly disappear. On the subjects with which these notes 
deal, much information of value has already been collected and recorded by another 
oriental scholar, the late Sir James Campbell, K.C.I.E., and will be found partly in tlie 
pages of the Bombay Gazetteer, and partly in the notes on the Spirit Basis of Belief and 
Custom which he published from time to time in the Indian Antiquary , Tiie present notes 
carry striking confirmation of Sir James Campbell's theory regarding the extent to which 
beliefs and religious practices in this country can be traced to the desire to propitiate 



INTRODUCTION. 



spirit presences. It may be reiuarkcd tliat Campbell's work in tlic domain of Indian 
folk-lore does not seem to liave received the notice that it deserves in tl:e works of writers 
on folk-lore generally, possibly because so nuicli of it is buried in the pages of tlie Bombay 
Gazetteer or in scattered numbers of the Indian Antiquary. The notes would ami)ly 
repay the labour of republication, with a summary and suitable index. Tlicy deal very 
fully with spirit worship and possession, witchcraft and magic, and the evil eye. They 
differ from the present notes in b.-ing to a large extent comparative, assembling under 
the various heads of ancestor worshij), spirit haunts, spirit possession, exorcism, etc., 
kindred beliefs from all parts of the world. Doubtless his work to no small extent 
suggesttd to Mr. Jackson the line of enquiry which is contained in the question paper. 
From tlie materials accumulated by these two scholars a comprehensive study of the 
folk-lore of western India may one day be compiled. 

The notes illustrate very fully the common beliefs in unseen presences causing 
misehief of various kinds. They illustrate the common methods of protection by propitia- 
tion, of spirit and disease scaring, and of avoidance of the effects of the evil eye. A full 
list will be found (pp. 126-130) of the lucky and unlucky omens besetting the undertaking of 
various acts, and much information is recorded regarding lucky and unlucky numbers, 
and spirit scaring names which has not, so far as I am aware, been made public before. 
Ceremonies for exorcising spirits that have possessed human beings are given in some 
detail. There will also be found an account of the interpretation commonly put on sueh 
natural phenomena as the rainbow, an eclipse, thunder, lightning, meteors, comets. &c. 

Many examples are given of the beliefs regarding the means for securing successful 
pregnancy. The trees and animals worshipped in the country side are described, with the 
ceremony that is held to be suitable in each case. An unusually interesting belief is that 
which attributes to a certain lake in Gujarat the power to transform males into females 
and vice versa (see p. 39). The curing of diseases by the wearing of magic threads 
and the application of mantras or holy verses is also dealt with in some detail. Finally 
a list is given of the shrines of the country side with the tradition regard ng the holy man 
in whose honour and to whose memory they have been erected. They are for the most 
part worshipped alike by Hindu and Musalman. 

In conclusion, I would refer once more to the fact that no attempt has been made to 
edit eriticallv the information embodied in these notes. In the scanty leisure available 
after official demands on my time have been met, it has only been possible to see the 
materials through the press as they stood, after translation. The task has been greatly 
li<»litened by the generous assistance received from R. B. P. B. Joshi who undertook the 
preparation of the whole of the MSS. of the Konhan series. I am also greatly indebted 
to Mr. G. M. Kalelkar for many arduous hours of work on the compilation of the Gujarat 
papers. To both these gentlemen my cordial thanks are due for their co-operation. If 
the publication of these materials serve to stimulate interest in the subject of Indian 
folk-lore', they will not have been printed in vain. Such as they are, they will, I trust 
remain as a small tribute to the memory of an oriental scholar, of no mean merit, of whose 
services India was deprived in so untimely a manner. 

R. E. Enthovex. 



QUESTIONS ON FOLKLORE. 



By W. CROOKE, Late of the Indian Civil Service. 

Author of the Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India. 

I. NATURE POWERS. 

1. Give any indications of the connection of the worship of the Deota or minor local 
deities with the lower races, .as, for instance, where tlie village deity is served by a priest drawn 
from the lower castes. 

2- Give any current beliefs about sun worslnp. How and at wliat periodical feasts is 
the worship conducted and what form of ritual is adopted ? 

3. Give any customs of moving round temples or sacred objects in the course of the sun 
in the heavens: cases in which women after childbirtli are exposed to the sun: conception 
believed to be caused by exposure to the rays of the sun : the use of the Swastika as an emblem. 

4. Give any legends or customs connected with moon worship : the spots on the surface 
of the moon : the moon as a healer of disease : the custom of drinking the moon's rays ; any 
ceremonies at new or full moon. 

5. Give any legends and rites connected with eclipses. 

6. Similarly for star worship ; superstitions connected with the rainbow ; the milky way. 

7. Rites comiected with worship of the eartli mother: sacred things not to fall on earth; 
occasions when people sleep on the earth. 

8. Superstitions connected with thunder and lightning. 

9. Popular belief regarding earthquakes. 

10. Collect instances of and ritual for worship of sacred rivers ; springs ; waterfalls ; 
water spirits and goblins: prejudice against saving drowning people; ceremonies at digging and 
dedication of wells : well water as a cure for disease : instances of sacred lakes : palaces under 
the water. 

1 1 . Instances of sacred momitains and legends connected with tliem : dread of climbing 
mountains. 

12. Name any deities supposed to control the weather, and describe the modes of causing 
or averting rain, of checking storms and liail. 

13. Give instances of any rites in which women alone take part or from which they are 
excluded : any rites in which the worshipper must be nude. 

14. Are there any sacred stones which are believed to influence the rain? 

15. Note any superstitious in connection witli aerolites and meteors. 

II. THE HEROIC GODLINGS. 

16. Describe the ritual and any legends or superstitions connected with the worship of 
Hanuman, Bhimsen, Bhishma. 



iv QUESTIONS ON FOLKLORE. 



17. Name and describe tbe local deities most generally worshipped in your neighbourhood. 
What legends are connected with them; who arc their priests ; what offerings and on what 
occasions are offerings made to them? 

18- How is the local deity of a new setlUment selected and installed'; 

19. What local deity is considered responsible for crops and catUe ? Wlien and iiow is 

he worshipped? 

20 Describe the worsliip of Bhairon or Bli.iirava. Ganr.si, the Malri- or Mothers, the 
deities of the jungle, those who assist parturition. 

III. DISEASE DEITIES. 

21. Describe the worsliip of any deities who are believed to have the power of averting 
or causing disease, such as cholera, small pox, fever, etc. 

22. Is epidemic disease attributed to witchcraft, and, if so. what precautions are taken? 
Give particulars of observances in connection with cattle disease. 

23. What methods are in vogue for tlie exorcism of disease? Give examples of any rural 
charms used for this purpose. 

24. Is dancing used in exorcism? If so, give instances of religious dances. 

25. What are the position and functions of the village sorcerer and how is he appointed? 

26. Give examples of the offering of rags, coins, etc, at sacred trees, wells, etc. 

27. Give any methods of transferring disease to another person. 

28. Give instances of the use ol" scapegoats. 

IV. THE WORSHIP OF ANCESTORS AND SAINTS. 

29. Give instances of worship of ancestors : the belief that spirits are mortal and lliat 
the spirits of the dead are re-born in children. 

30. Give instances of miracle-working tombs, and of saints wlio have been deified in modern 

times. 

31. Give instances of Muliammadan saints wliose worship has been adopted by Hindus. 

32. Give the rural methods. in vogue for the cure of barrenness. 

V. THE WORSHIP OF THE MALEVOLENT DEAD. 

33. What are tlie current beliefs.as to the cause of dreams and the omens derived from 
them? 

34. Is it considered possibli- for the soul to leave the body temporarily? If so, give 
instances. 

35. What is the popular conception of the character and functions of the Bhut or 
disembodied soul? 

36- What beliefs are current as to the state of the soul after death ; tlie patli to the other 
world ; the condition of souls in the other world : the possibility of the soul returning thence ? 

37. What belief is current as to the souls of those dying by a sudden or violent death? 

38. What are believed to be the appearance and habits of the Bhut? 

39. In what way do spirits enter or leave the body? 

40. What is the current theory regarding sneezing and yawning? 

41. What is known of the Rakshasa or malevolent dejnon? 

42. Name and describe any other varieties of malignant spirits. 



QUESTIONS ON FOLKLORE. 



43. Do any evil spirits go about headless? 

44- What special evil spirits infest burial or cremation grounds, find what ore the other 
haunts of such spirits ? 

45- Docs any special class of evil spirit infest mountains, jungles, trees? 

46- What fiends attack the young mother and her child ? 

47. What belief prevails as to the spirits of those killed by tigers or other wild beasts? 

48. ^Miat form does the ghost of a woman dying at childbirth or during her menses 
assume? 

49. Is tl>erc any belief tliat the father has to take special precautions at the birth of 
his child? 

50. Is there any belief in a connection of the bat or owl with spirits of the dead? 

51. Describe the evil spirits which haunt ruins and guard buried treasure; or occupy 
caves and mines. 

VI. THE EVIL EYE AND THE SCARING OF GHOSTS. 

52- Describe the belief in the Evil eye and the modes of evading'it. 

53. Does the belief in giving opprobrious names to children prevail, and if so, how is it 
accounted for? 

54- Can you give instances of change of sex ? 

55- Illustrate the value of tlie following protection against evil spirits — iron and other 
metals ; coral and shells : precious stones ; blood : incense ; spittle ; salt ; water ; grain ; colours ; 
grasses; tattooing; leather; garlic; glass. 

56- Describe the amulets generally used. 

57- Illustrate the sacred circle as a protective. 

58- Illustrate the belief in omens, numbers, Incky and unlucky days. 

59. What means are adopted to l>elp tlie spirit to the otlier world, to prevent it from 
returning and to secure its good-will to the survivors? 

60. Illustrate the prevalence of earth burial and cremation ; the customs of shaving the 
hair ; placing food or other articles for the use of the dead. 

61. Does the spirit reappear in the form of insects and animals? 

62. Are the earthen vessels of the household broken at death : if so, why? Describe rites 
connected with mourning. 

53- What spirits are benevolent ? 

54- Illustrate the belief in tree spirits. 

55- What spirits are special protectors of crops and cattle? 
66- What spirits are invoked to frighten children? 

VII. TREE AND SERPENT WORSHIP. 

67. Name any sacred groves in your neighbourhood and describe any prejudice against 
cutting trees. 

68. Are any trees specially connected with any local deity or saint? 

69. Name any trees which receive particular respect or devotion and note any legends or 
superstitions in connection with them. 

70. Does tlie custom of marrying a bride or bridegroom to a tree prevail? Any instances 
of marriage to a god ; religious prostitution. 



vi QUESTIONS ON FOLKLORE. 



71- Give instances of snakt- worship and silirincs of serpent deities: of deified"; snake 
heroes. 

72. Does the belief prevail tliat snnkes guird treasure? Give details. 

73. What snake festivals are observed? Describe the ritual. 

74. Wiiat is the village treatment of siiikt-bite? 

75. The siiake has a jewel in liis head : he is connected witli the rainbow; he has a palace 
under the water; he weds mortal girls; he protects the household — illustrate these beliefs. 

VIII. TOTEMISM AND FETISHISM. 

76. Can you quote any beliefs which are suggestive of Totcmism? Arc any clans named 
after or do they claim descent from animals or plants? What animals are treated with special 
resptet by particular tribes? Do special castes refuse to tat any special food? 

77- Are any local deities specially associated with animal worship? 

78- Illustrate the worship of slocks and stones. Is any respect shown to perforated 
stones ? 

79- Arc tliere any modern survivals of human sacrifice? 

80. Are fetisli stones supposed to cure disease or to be the abode of spirits? 

81- Are any fetishes peculiar to jjarticular families or castes? 

82. Is special respect shown to tlie corn sieve, the winnowing basket, the broom, the rice 
pounder, the plough? 

83- Give instances of fire worship. Is the sacred five maintained in any shrine; Is 
fire made by friction for special rites. 

IX. ANIMAL WORSHIP. 

84. Illustrate from local examples the worship or respect paid to the horse, ass, lion, 
tiger, dog, goat, cow, buffalo, antelope, elephant, cat, rat and mouse, squirrel, bear, jackal, 
hare, crow," fowl, dove and pigeon, swan, and other birds, alligators, fish and insects, and give 
any legend or superstition in connection with them. 

X. WITCHCRAFT. 

85- How far does the belief in witches and tlieir powers prevail? Do they appear as 
animals and have they special haunts and seasons ? 

86- What ordeals are used to test a witch aiul what means to guard against her mtchcraft? 

XI. GENERAL. 

87- Describe the rural ceremonies in connection with j)loughing, sowing the various crojjs, 
reaping and harvesting. 

88. Rites intended for the protection of cattle; to ensure sunshine and favourable 
weather ; to scare noxious animals or insects : to protect special crops : illustrate these from 
local custom. 

S9. Are th;re any rites in which secrecy and silence are essential? 

90. Describe the observances at" the Holi. 

91. Give details of any rites performed when boys or girls attain puberty. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

Nature Powers^ Paoe. 

Worship of minor local deities. Sim-worsliip. Circumambulation rouiid images 
and other sacred objects. Exposure of women to the Sun after child-birth. Tlie 
Swastika, Moon-worship. Eclipses. Worship of planets and stars. The rainbow. 
The milky way. Worship of the earth. Thunder and lightning. Earthquakes. 
Worsliip of sacred rivers, springs and pools. Water spirits and goblins. Ceremonies at 
digging of wells. Well water as a cure for disease. Sacred Lakes. Palaces under 
the water. Sacred mountains. Deities who control the weather. Methods of causing 
or averting rain and of checking storms. Vratas or religious vows practised only by 
women. Rites in which women are excluded. Rites in which the worshipper must 
be nude. Superstitions in connection with aerolites and meteors. ... ... ... 1 



CHAPTER n. 



The Heroic Godlings. 



The worship of Hanuman, Bhimsen and Bhishma. Local deities. Installation of 
deities in new settlements. Deities responsible for crops and cattle. The worship of 
Bhairow, Ganesh, Matrikas or mothers, the deities of the jungle and the deities wlio 
preside over childbirth. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 54 



CHAPTER in. 

Disease Deities. 
Deities who can cause or avert diseases such as cholera, small pox, fever, etc. 
Causes of the outbreak of cholera. Remedies adopted to stojj cholera. Causes of the 
outbreak of small pox. Remedies adopted for the cure of small pox. Causes of 
fever. Remedies adopted in cases of fever. Cattle diseases. Remedies practised 
by the village people in connection with them. The methods for the exorcism of disease. 
Methods of expelling evil spirits from the body. The village sorcerer. Offerings 
of rags, coins, etc. at sacred trees and wells. The transferring of disease from one 
person to another. Scapegoats 74 



VIII TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER IV. 
The tvorship of ancestors and saints. Page 

Shraddhas and oilier ceremonies performed for the propitiation and emancipation 
of the deceased. Worship of the founders of religious sects, of saints, etc. Ghosts. 
The length of their life. Rebirth of ancestors in the same family. Miracle-working 
tombs. Muhammadan saints wliose worship lias been adopted by Hindus. Rural 
methods for llie cure of barrenness, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... . _ _ gg 

CHAPTER V, 
The worship of the malevolent dead. 

Popular notions about dreams. Auspicious and inauspicious dreams. Temporary 
abandonment of the bod}' by the soul. Character and functions of the bhut or 
disembodied soul. The state of the soul after di atli. Tlie rebirth of the soul. The 
souls of persons dying a sudden or violent death. The ways by which ghosts enter 
and leave tlie body. Methods of driving away evil spirits from the body. Beliefs 
regarding sneezing and yawning. Rdkshasa or the malevolent demon, Maharakshasas. 
Other malignant spirits. Evil spirits which go about headless. The haunts of 
evil spirits. Ghosts of women dying an unnatural death. Spirits of persons killed 
by tigers and other wild beasts. Ghosts of women dying in child-bed or menses. 
Precautions taken by parents at the birth of children. Beliefs in connection 
with bats and owls. Spirits whicli haunt ruins, guard buried treasure and 
occupy valleys. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 102 



CHAPTER VI. 
The evil eye and the scaring of ghosts. 

Effects of tlie evil eye. Objects liable to be influenced by the evil eye. 
Precautions taken to evade the influence of the evil eye. Opprobrious names. Change 
of sex. Protection against evil spirits. Amulets. Charmed circles. Omens, Num- 
bers. Lucky and unlucky days. Rites performed to help the soul to the 
otiier world. Cremation and burial. The customs of shaving the hair. Offerings of 
food to the dead. Manifestation^ of evil spirits in form. The practice of breaking 
earthen vessels at death. Rites connected with mourning. Benevolent spirits. Spirits 
wliich haunt trees. The guardian spirits of crops and cattle. Spirits invoked to 
frighten children 120 



CHAPTER VII. 
Tree and Serpent worship. 

Trees connected with deities and saints. Legends and superstitions connected 
with them. Marriage of brides and bridegrooms to trees. Snake worship. Shrines 
of snake deities. Deified snakes. Snakes guarding treasure. The village treatment 
of snake-bite. The jewicl in the head of the snake. Its connection with the rainbow. 
Weddings of snakes with human beings. Guardian snakes ' 13^ 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. is 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Totemism and Fetishism. Paoje. 

Names derived from auimals. Names derived from plants. Clan names derived 
from trees and animals. Sacred animals. Deities associated witL uiumal worsliip. 
Worship of stocks and stones. Survivals of human sacrifice. Disease-curing stones. 
Respect shown lo corn sieves, corn pounders, the broom and the plough. Fire 
■worship 144 

CHAPTER IX. 
Animal worship. 
Sacred animals and the legends and superstitions connected with them 150 

CHAPTER X. 

fVitchcraft. 

Human and ghost by Ddkans or witches. ... .. •- 152 



CHAPTER XI. 
General. 



Rural ceremonies connected with agricultural operations. Rites performed for 
the protection of cattle. Rites performed for staring noxious animals and insects. 
Rites performed for ensuring sunshine and favourable weather. Rites performed for 
the protection of crops. Rites in which secrecy and silence are observed. The 
observances^at the HoZi festival. Rites performed when girls attain puberty. ... 153 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



NATURE POWERS 



CHAPTER I 



BESIDES the higher-grade deities, whose 
worship is enjoined and treated of in tlie 
Shastras and Piiranas, numerous otlier minor 
deities, none of whom however find a place 
in the Scriptures, are worshipped by the 
lower classes. The principle underlying the 
whole fabric of the worship of these minor 
deities, who for the most part are the spirits 
of dead ancestors or heroes, has more in it 
of fear for their power of harming than of 
love for their divine nature. All untoward 
occurrences in domestic affairs, all bodily 
ailments and unusual natural phenomena, in- 
explicable to the simple mind of tiie villager, 
are attributed to the malignant action of these 
nameless and numerous spirits, hovering over 
and haunting the habitations of mcn.^ The 
latent dread of receiving injuries from these 
evil spirits results in the worship by the low- 
class people of a number of devas and matSs, 
as they are called. The poor villager, sur- 
rounded on all sides by hosts of hovering 
spirits, ready to take offence, or even to 
possess him, on the smallest pretext, requires 
some tangible protector to save him from 
such malign influences. ^ He sets up and 
enshrines the spirit that he believes to have 
been beneficent to him, and so deserving of 
worship, and makes vows in its honour, 
often becoming himself the officiating 
priest. Each such deity has its ow;n parti- 
cular thSnak {sOhSna) or locality. Thus 
there is hardly a village which has not a 
particular deity of its own. But in addition 
to this deity, others in far off villages are 
generally held in high esteem.' 



There are a number of ways in w;hicli 
thess lower-class deities can be installed. 
Their images are made either of wood, stone, 
or metal.- No temples or shrines are erected 
in their honour.' An ordinary way of 
representing them is by drawing a trident, 
(trishul^ a weapon peculiar to god Shiva) in 
red lead and oil on an upright slab of stone 
on a public road, on any dead wall, on the 
confines of a village, or a mountain side, or a 
hill top, in an underground cellar, or on the 
bank of a stream.* Some people paint 
tridents in their own houses. The trishul, or 
trident, may also be made of wood, in which 
case its three points arc plastered with red- 
lead and oil and covered with a thin coating 
of tin." Sometimes carved wooden images 
in human shape, daubed over with red-lead 
and oil, are i)laced in a small wooden chariot 
or in a recess about a foot square. In some 
shrines two brooms or whisks of peacock's 
feathers are placed on either side of the 
image-*"' A slight difficulty overcome or a 
disease remedied by a vow in honour of any 
of these deities offers the occasion for an 
installation, and in all future emergencies of 
the same kind similar vows are observed. 
A mats, installed to protect a fortress or a 
street is called a Gadluri ]\ISta,and the wor- 
shippers of a fortress, or street, mother are 
known as Pothias.^ At the time of installation 
flags are hoisted near the dedicated places. 
A troop of dancers with jingling anklets 
recite holy verses, while the bhuva^ exorcist- 
priest, performs the ceremonies. Generally 
installations are frequ-ont during the 



1 Khan Bahadur Fazlullah and Mr. K. D. Desai. 
3 The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohelwad. 
5 The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohelwad, 
' Mr. K. P. Joshi, Schoolmaster, Limbdi. 



2 Mr. D. K. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Dhhank. 
* Mr. N. D. Vora, Schoolmaster, Rajpara, 
'= Mr. M. D. Vyas, Shastri, Bhayavadur. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



Nnvaratra* holidays when, if no human- 
shaped image is set up, a trishiil at least is 
drawn in red-lead and oil.' Sonie of these 
evil deities require, at the time of their in- 
stallation, the haliddn (sacrifice or oblation) 
of a goat or a he-buffalo. Also, when a spirit 
is to be exorcised, the symbol of the familiar 
spirit of the exorcist is set up and invoked 
by him.i After the installation, no syste- 
matic form of worslii]) is followed in con- 
nection with tlieni.- Regular forms are 
prescribed for the real gods of the Puriinas. 
But upon these the low-caste people are not 
authorised to attend. 

Still, in practice there are two forms of 
worship : ordinary or samanya-puja and 
special or vishesha-puja." Ordinary worship 
is performed by bathing the deity — which can 
be done by sprinkling a few drops of 
water over it — burning a ghi, or an oil, 
lamp before it, and by offering a cocoanut 
and a pice or a half-anna piece. The 
last is taken away by the hliuva, or priest, 
who returns generally half or three-quar- 
ters of the cocoanut as a prasad of the god. 
There are no particular days prescribed 
for such worship, but Sundays and Tuesdays 
would seem to be the most favoured,* 
On such days, offiirings are made for the 
fulfilment of a vow recorded in order to 
avoid a badha, or impending evil. In the 
oliservancc of this vow the devotee abstains 
from certain things, such as ghi, butter, 
milk, rice, juvar. beteliiut till the period of 
the vow expires. M'hen a vow is thus dis- 
charged, the devotee offers flowers, garlands, 
incense, food or drink according to the terms 
of his vow.^ Tlic dhfipa, i.e., burning incense 
of gZgal (balsamodendron) is one of the 
commonest methods of worship. 



The days for special worship are the 
Navaratra holidays, the second day of the 
briglit half of .\shadh, the ninth month of the 
Hindu Calendar,^ Divasa" or tlie fifteenth day 
of the dark half of Ashadh, and Kall-chau- 
das^ or the fourteenth day of tlie dark lialf of 
Ashvin, the last month ; besides other extra- 
ordinary occasions when a spirit has to be 
exorcised out of a sick person. 

The Navaratra days are said to be the most 
auspicious days for devi-worship. People 
believing in the power of the matas observe 
fast on these days. Most of them at least 
fast on the eighth day of the Navaratra 
known as Mata-ashtami, taking only a light 
meal which consists of roots, as a rule, 
especially the suran (Amorphoiihallus campa 
nulatus), and of dates and milk.** On the 
Navariitra days red-lead and oil are applied 
to the images of the devis, and a number of 
oblations, such as loaves, cooked rice, lapsi\ 
vadcinX and bakla^ are offered.' The utmost 
ceremonial cleanliness is observed in the pre- 
paration of these viands. The corn is sifted, 
cleaned, ground or pounded, cooked, treated 
with frankincense, offered to the gods and 
lastly partaken of before sunset, and all these 
operations must be performed on the same 
day ; for the offerings must not see lamp- 
light.'" Girls are not allowed to partake 
of these offerings. All ceremonies should 
be conducted with much earnestness and 
reverence ; otherwise tlie offerings will fail to 
prove acceptable to the matjis or devis.''' 

On Miita-ashtami and Kall-chaudas devo- 
tees sometimes offer rams, goats or buffaloes 
as victims to the devis or devas in addition 
to the usual offerings of lapsi^ vadan and 
bakla,^" The night of Kall-chaudas is 
believed to be so favourable for the efficacious 



*The first nine days of Ashvin, the last month of the Gujarat Hindu Calendar, known otherwise as Matana 
dahada-mfitri's days. The influence of the matas is very strong in these days. 

1 Mr. K. D. Desai. ^ Mr. M. D. Vayas, Shastri, Bhayavadur. 

» The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohelwad. ' Mr. K. D. DPsai. 

» Mr. N. D. Vera, Schoolmaster, Rajpara. ° Mr. B. K. Dave, Schoolmaster, Kotda-Sangani. 

' Mr. N. D. Vera, Schoolmaster, Rajpara. ' Mr. K. D. Desai. 

t Lapsi is coarse wheat-flour fried in ghi and sweetened with molasses or sugar. 

X Vadan-bean flour — generally of gram or peas — is allowed to remain in water with spices until the paste 
acquires a suflicient degree of consistence, when it is rolled into small biscuit-sized balls anJ fried in oil. 

§ lirikl<i are small round flat cakes of dry boiled beans. 

" Mr, N. D. Vora, Schoolmaster, Rajpara. '° Mr.N. M. Dave, Schoolmaster. SSnka, 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



recitation (sadhana) of certain viantras, 
mysterious incantations possessing sway 
over spirits, tliat bhuvas (exorcists) leave 
the village and sit up performing certain 
rites in cemeteries, on burning-ghats, and 
in other equally suitable places where 
spirits arc supposed to congregate.^ 

On Divasa, the last day of Ashadh, the 
ninth month, low-caste people bathe their 
gods with water and milk, besmear them 
wif^h red-lead and oil, and make ofTerings 
of cocoanuts, lapsi, bclkla of adad (Phan- 
solens radiatus) or kansar*. Particular 
offerings are believed to be favoured by 
particular deities : for instance, khichdo 
(rice and pulse boiled together) and oil, 
or tavo (flat unleavened loaves) are favoured 
by the goddess !Mcldi, boiled rice by Shikotar 
and lapsi by the goddess Gatriid.^ 

On these holidays, as well as on the 
second daj' of the bright half of Ashadh 
the devotees hoist flags in honour of the 
spirits, and play on certain musical instru- 
ments producing discordant sounds. Mean- 
while bhuvas, believed to be interpreters of 
the wills of evil spirits, undergo self-torture, 
with the firm conviction thai the spirits 
have entered their persons. Sometimes 
they lash themselves with iron chains 
or cotton braided scourges.-' At times a 
bhuva places a pan-full of sweet oil over 
a fire till it boils. He then fries cakes in 
it, and takes them out witli his unprotected 
hands, sprinkling the boiling oil over his 
hair. He further dips thick cotton wicks 
into the oil, lights them and puts them into 
his mouth and throws red-hot bullets into 
his mouth, seemingly without any injury. ■• 
This process secures the confidence of the 
sevakas or followers, and is very often used 
by bhuvas when exorcising spirits from 
persons whose confidence the bhuvas wish 



to gain. A bowl-full of water is then passed 
round the iiead of the ailing person (or 
animal) to be cliarmed, and the contents 
are swallowed by the exorcist to show that 
he has swallowed in the water all the ills 
tlie flesh of tlie patient is heir to.'' 

In the cure of certain diseases by exorcis- 
ing the process known as uldr is sometimes 
gone through. An ufdr is a sacrificial 
offering of the nature of a scapegoat, and 
consists of a black eartlien vessel, open and 
broad at the top, and containing /ap^t, vadiin 
bdkld^ ,a yard of atlas (dark-red silk fabric), 
one rupee and four annas in cash, pieces of 
cfiarcoal, red-lead, sorro (or surmo-lead 
ore used as eye-powder), an iron-nail and 
tiiree cocoanuts. "• Very often a trident is 
drawn in red-lead and oil on the outer sides 
of the black earthen vessel.^ The bhuva 
carries the utdr in his hands with a drawn 
sword in a profession, to the noise of the 
jingling of the anklets of his companions, 
the beating of drums and the rattling of cym- 
bals. After placing the utdr in tlie cemetery 
tlie procession returns with tumultuous 
shouts of joy and much jingling of anklets.^ 
Sometimes bhuvas are summoned for two 
or tliree nights preceding the day of the 
utdr ceremony, and a ceremony kno^vTI as 
Ddnkldn-beswdn or the installation of the 
ddnkld~' is performed. (A (/ani-Zr?! is aspceial 
spirit instrument in tlie shape of a small 
kettle-drum producing, when beaten by a 
stick, a most discordant, and, by long associa- 
tion, a melancholy, gruesome and ghastly 
sound — K. B. Fazlullah). 

Many sects have special deities of their 
own, attended upon by a bhuva of the same 
order.* The bhuva holds a high position 
in the society of his easte-fellows. He 
believes himself to' be possessed by the devi 
or mata whose attendant he is, and declares, 



1 Mr. N. M. Dave, Schoolmaster, Sanka. 

* Kansar is coarse wheat-flour cooked in three times as much water, sweetened with molasses or sugar, 
and taken with ghi. — B. L. Dave, Schoolmaster, Kotda-Sangani. ' 

^ The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohelwad. ^ Mr. G. K. Dave, Schoolmaster, Sultanpore, 

• Mr. N. D. Vora, Schoolmaster, Rajpara. = Mr. B. K. Dave, Schoolmaster, Kotda-Sangani. 
« Mr. N. D. Vora, Schoolmaster, Rajpara. 

' Mr, Girijashankar Karunashankar, Schoolmaster, Songadh. t A d'dnkli is otherwise known by the 

" Mr. Jagannath Hirji, Schoolmaster, Chok. name of diig-dudioon. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 






■while possessed by her, Ihc will of the mata, 
replying for her to such questions as may be 
put to hini.i The devis .-irc supposed to 
appear in speeially favoured bhuvdx and to 
endow them w-ith prophetic powers.- 

Thc followingisalistof sonieof the inferior 
local deities of Gujarat and Katluawar :— 

(1) Suro-puro. — This is generally the spirit 
of some brave ancestor who died a heroic 
death, and is worshipped by his descendants 
as a family-god at his birthplace as well 
as at the scene of his dtiath, where a pillar 
(palio) is erected to his memory.'' 

(2) Vachhro, otherwise known by the 
name of Dfula (sire). — This is said to have 
been a Rajput, killed in rescuing the cow- 
herds of some Charans, who invoked his aid, 
from a party of free-booters.^ He is con- 
sidered to be the family-god of the Ahirs of 
Soianki descent, and is the sole village-deity 
in Okha and Baradi Districts."' Other 
pLtces dedicated to this god are Padanfi, 
Aniala, Taluka Mengani,'^ Khajurdi, Khira- 
sara and Anida." He is represented by a 
stone horse, and Charans perform priestly 
duties in front of him.*^ Submission to, and 
vows in honour of. this god, are believed to 
cure rabid-dog-bites.* 

(3) Sarmalio commands worship in Gondal, 
Khokhari and many other places. Newly- 
married couples of many castes loosen the 
knots tied in their marriage-scarves as a 
mark of respect for him.* Persons bitten 
by a snake wear round their necks a piece 
of thread dedicated to this god.» 

(4) Shitala is a goddess known for the 
cure of small-pox. — Persons attacked by this 
disease observe vows in her honour. Kalavad 
and Syadla are places dedicated to her.^ 

(5) Ganagor. — Virgins who are anxious 
to secure suitable husbands and comfortable 



establishments worship tliis goddess and 
observe vows in her honour.'-* 

(6) Todalia — She has neither an idol nor 
a temple set up in her honour, but is repre- 
sented by a heap of stones lying on the 
village boundary — Padal or Jampa. All mar- 
riage processions, before entering the village 
(Sanka) or passing by the heap, pay homage 
to this deity and offer a eocoanut, failure to 
do which is believed to arouse her wrath. 
She does not command daily adoration, but 
on occasions the attendant, who is a Chum- 
valia Koli, and who appropriates all the 
presents to this deit.v, burns frankincense of 
giigdl (balsamodendron) and lights a lamp 
before lur.'" 

(7) Buttaya also is represented by a heap 
of stones on a hillock in the vicinity of 
Sanka. Her worshipper is a Talabdia Koli. 
A long season of drought leads to her 
propitiation by feasting Brahmans, for 
which purpose four pounds of corn are 
taken in her name from each threshing floor 
in the village.!" 

(8) Surdhan. — This seems to have been 
some brave Kshatrij-a warrior who died on a 
battlefield. A temple is erected to his me- 
mory, containing an image of Shiva. The 
attending priest is an Atit.'" 

(9) Ghogho. — This is a cobra-god wor- 
shipped in the village of Bikhijada having 
a Bajana (tumbler) for his attending 
priest.!'' 

(10) Pir. — This is a Musalman saint, in 
whose honour no tomb is erected, the special 
site alone being worshipped by a devotee.!"^ 

(11) Raneki is represented by a heap of 
stones, and is attended upon by chamars 
(tanners). Her favourite resort is near the 
Dhedvada ('.e., a quarter inhabited by 
sweepers). A childless Girasia is said to 



' Mr. Nandlal Kalidas, Schoolmaster, Chbatrasa. 
* Mr. H. R. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Khirasara. 
" Mr. D. K. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Dhhank, 
' Mr, L. G. Travadi, Schoolmaster, Upleta. 



1 Mr. Jethabhai Mangaldas, Schoolmaster, Gondal. 
» Mr. D. K. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Dhhank. 
» Mr. L. G. Travadi, Schoolmaster, Upleta. 
' Mr. H. R. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Khirasara. 

" Mr. D. K. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Dhhank, 

* Two pieces of cloth, a shculdercloth ard a scarf are cast over the bridegroom and the bride, and they 
are tied together by a knot. It is the unloosening of this tie which is here referred to. — Mr. K. D. Desai. 

'0 Mr. N. M. Dave, Schoolmaster, SankS. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



have observed a vow in her honour for a 
son, and a son being born to him, he dedi- 
cated certain lands to her ; but they are no 
Jonger in the possession of the attendants.'^ 

(12) Hanuman. — On a mound of earth 
there is an old worn-out image of this god. 
People sometimes light a lamp there, offer 
cocoanuts and plaster the image with red- 
lead and oil. A sadhu of the Maragi sect, a 
Koli by birth, acts as pujari.^ 

(13) Shakta (or shakti), — This is a Girasia 
goddess attended upon by a Chumvalia Koli. 
On the Navaratra days, as well as on the 
following day, Girasias worship this goddess, 
•nd if necessary observe vows in her name.^ 

(14) Harsidh. — Gandhavi in Barda and 
Ujjain are the places dedicated to this 
goddess. There is a tradition connected 
with her that her image stood in a place 
of worship facing the sea on Mount Koyalo 
in Gandhavi. She w^as bolieved to sink or 
swallow all the vessels that sailed by. A 
Bauia named Jagadusa, knowing this, pro- 
pitiated her by the performance of religious 
austerities. On being asked what boon he 
wanted from her, he requested her to descend 
from her mountain-seat. She agreed on the 
Bania promising to offer a living victim for 
every footstep she took in descending. 
Thus he sacrificed one victim after another 
until the number of victiius he had brought 
was exhausted. He then first offered his 



four or five children, then his wife and 
lastly himself. In reward for his self- 
devotion the goddess faced towards Miani 
and no mishaps are believed to take place la 
the village.^ 

(15) Hinglaj. — This goddess has a place 
of worship a hundred and fifty miles from 
Karachi in Sind, to which her devotees and 
believers make pilgrimage." 

In the village of Jasdan, in Kathiawar, 
there is an ancient shrine of Kalu-Pir itt 
whose memory there are two sepulchres 
covered with costly fabrics, and a large flag 
floats over the building. Both Hindus and 
Musalmans believe* in this saint, and offer 
cocoanuts, sweetmeats and money to his 
soul. A part of the offering being passeid 
through the smoke of frankincense, burning 
in a brazier near the saint's grave in the 
shrine, the rest is returned to the offerer. 
Every morning and evening a big kettle- 
drum is beaten in the Fir's honour.^ 

Other minor deities are Shikotar, believed 
by sailors to be able to protect them from 
the dangers of the deep;* Charmathvati, the 
goddess of the Rabaris :' Macho, the god of 
tlie shepherds ;^ Meldi, in whom Vaghries 
(bird-catchers) believe ;** Pithad, the fa- 
vourite go'd of Dheds 'J Dihavdi, who i» 
worshipped by a hajdm (barber) ;8 
Khodiar;9 Gela.s Dadamo,* Kshetrapal,*^ 
Chavad,!" Mongal,i» Avad,io Palan," Vir 



' Mr. N. M. Dave, Schoolmaster, Sankii. ^ Mr. D. K. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Dhhank. 

* The tendency to fraternise as much in belief as in nationality is a notable feature of Indian life. The 
saying goes :— Hindu Musalman ek Ram bij6 Rehman. The Hindu and Musalman are not far apart ; one is 
the follower of Ram, the other of Rehman (the most compassionate— a Kuranic name of Allah). Again says 
another proverb : The Hindu and Musalman are as closely connected as the breast and the skirt of a garment 
(Hindu n^ Musalman moli daman jo vehevar). The Hindu pays homage to the Pir, the Muslim repays the 
compliment by holding some of his Hindu brother's lower class deities, such as Vaital and Kali and Amba, in 
awe. The Hindu worships and breaks cocoanuts before the Moharram taazias — the Musalman responds by 
showing a sneaking sort of a regard for the Holi, whom he believes to have been a daughter of the patriarch 
Abraham. This reciprocal good fellowship in time of political agitation, like those of the Indian Mutiny, results 
in the " chapati ", or unleavened bread loaf, being considered a symbol to be honoured both by Muslim and 
Hindu ; and in more recent times, as during the plague troubles in Allahabad and Cawnpore, shows itself in the 
Muslim garlanding the Hindu on a holiday, and the Hindus setting up sherbat-stalls for Musalmans on an Id 
day, — Khan Bahadur FazluUah. 



' Mr. ]. N. Patel, Schoolmaster, Jasdan. 
• Mr. Jaggannath Hirji, Schoolmaster. Chok. 
■= Mr. O. A. Mehta, Schoolmaster, Lakhapadar. 
» Mr. J. D. Khandhar, Sayala. 
^o Mr, N. D. Vora, Rajpara. 



' Mr. Nandlal Kalidas, Schoolmaster, Chhatrasa. 
' Mr. N. J. Bhatt, Moti Marad. 
» Mr. N. M. Dave, Sanka, 



6 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



Vaital,^ Jalio,* Gadio,* Paino.^ Parolio,'- 
Sevalio,' Andhario,* Fulio' IJIioravo',^ 
Ragantio,' Cliod,- Gatrad,- Manimai and 
Verai.3 Thera are frequent additions to the 
number, as any new disease or unusual and 
untoward incident may bring a new spirit into' 
existence. The installation of such deities 
is not a costly concern,* and thus there is 
no serious check on their recognition. 

The sun, the beneficent night-dispelling, 
light-bestowing great luminary, is believed to 
be the visible manifestation of the Almighty 
God,' and inspires the human mind with a 
feeling of grateful reverence which finds 
expression in titles like Savita^ Life-Produ- 
cer, the nourishcr and generator of all life 
and activity''. 

He is the chief rain-sender'^; there is a coup- 
let used in Gujarat illustrative of this belief. 
It runs: — "Oblations are cast into the Fire : 
the smoke carries the prayers to the sun ; the 
Divine Luminary, propitiated, responds in 
sending down gentle showers." " The sacred 
smoke, rising from the sacrificial offerings, 
ascends through the ethereal regions to the 
Sun. He transforms it into the rain-giving 
clouds, the rains produce food, and food pro- 
duces the powers of generation and multipli- 
cation and plenty. Thus, the sun, as the 
propagator of animal life, is believed to be 
the lugliest deity. ^'" 

It is pretty generally believed that vows 
in honour of the sun are highly efficacious in 
*uring eye-diseases and strengthening the 
-eyesight. Mr. Damodar Karsonji Pandya 
quotes from the Bhagvadgita the saying 
of Krishna: 



"I am the very light of the sun and tin- 
moon.*'* Being the embodiment or the 
fountain of light, the sun imparts his lustre 
either to' the bodies or to the eyes of his 
devotees. It is said that a Rajput woman of 
Gomata in Gondal and a Brahman of Rajkot 
were cured of wliite leprosy by vows in 
honour of the sun,^ Similar vows are made 
to this daj' for the cure of the same disease. 
Persons in Kathiawar suffering from oj)!]- 
thalmic disorders, venereal affections, leuco- 
derma and white leprosy are known to 
observe vows in honour of the sun.'* 

The Parmar Rajputs believe in the efficacy 
of vows in honour of the sun deity of Miin- 
davraj, in curing hydrophobia.''^ 

Women believe tJiat a vow or a vrat made 
to the sun is the sure means of attaining 
their desires. Chiefly their vows are made 
with, the object of securing a son. On the 
fulfilment of this desire, in gratitude to the 
Great Luminary, the child is often called 
after him, and given such a name as Suraj- 
Ram, Bhauu-Shankar, Ravi-Shankar, Adit- 
Ram.ii 

Many cradles are received as presents at 
the temple of Mandavraj, indicating that the 
barren women who had made vows to the 
deity have been satisfied in their desire for 
a son, the vows being fulfilled by the present 
of such toy-cradles to tlie sun. In tlie case 
of rich donors, these cradles are made of 
precious metal. ^- 

At Mandvara, in the Muli District of 
Kathiawar, the Parmar Rajputs, as well as 
the Kathis, bow to tlie image of the sun, on 
their marriage-day, in company with their 
newly-married brides.'- After tlic birlii of 



1 Mr. N. D. Vora, Rajpara. ^ The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohelwad. 

^ Mr. G. K, Dave, Sultanpore. ' Mr. K. D. Desai. ■■■ Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 

« Mr. K. D. Desai. ' Mr. M. D. Vyas, Schoolmaster, Uhayavadur. 

• Cf. All;'.ho nur-us-samawiltiwa! ard, mathalo nurihi-ka miskatin bih;i nusbaL— Koran. 

Allah ! He is the light of the Heavens and the Earth. The likeness of His Light being similar to a 
lamp in a glass. — Fazlullah LatfuUah. 
^ Mr. jcthabai Mangaldas, Schoolmaster, Gondal , and Damodar Karsonji, Schoolmaster, Dhhank. 

• Mr. 13. K. Iiave, Schoolmaster, Kotda-Sangani. '" Mr, N. M. Pave, Sanka. 
" Mr. N. n. Vora, Kajpara. ■-' Mr. N. M. Dj.ve, Sanka. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



a son to a Rajputani, the hair on th<> boy's 
head is shaved for the first time in the pre- 
sence of the Manda%'raj deity,* and a suit of 
rich clothes is presented to the image by the 
maternal uncle of the child. ^ 

The sun is H%r^ the observer of all 
things and nothing c^n escape his notice.^ 
His eye is believed to possess the lustre of 
the three V^edic lores, vis., Rigveda, Yajur- 
veda and Samaveda, and is therefore known 
by the name of ■iA-=i'-(\, The attestation of 
a document in his name as Surya-Narayana- 
Sakshi is believed to be ample security for 
the sincerity and good faith of tlie parties.^ 
Oaths in the name of the sun are considered 
so binding that persons swearing in his name 
are held to be pledged to the strictest truth.* 

Virgin girls observe a vrat, or vow, called 
the ' tili-vrat ' in the sun's honour, for 
attaining 3T^^ yHI'fl — eternal exemption 
from widowhood- In making this vrat, or 
vow, the votary, having bathed and worship- 
ped the sun, sprinkles wet red-lac drops 
before him.^ 

According to Forbes 's Rasmala, the sun 
revealed to the Kathis the plan of regaining 
their lost kingdom, and thus commanded 
their devout worship and reverence. The 
temple named Suraj-deval, near Than, was 
set up by the Kathis in recognition of this 
favour. In it both the visible resplendent 
■disc of the sun and his image are adored.'^ 

People w^iose horoscopes declare them to 
Jiave been born under the Surya-dasha^or solar 
influence, have from time to time to observe 
vows prescribed by Hindu astrology/ 

Cultivators are said to observe vows in 
honour of the sun for the safety of their 
cattle.* 



The following are some of the standard 
books on sun-worship: — 

(1) Aditya-hridaya — literally, the Heart 
of the Sun, It treats of the glory of the sun 
and the mode of worshipping him. 

(2) Brihadaranj-akopanishad and Mandu- 
la-Brahmans — portions of Yajur-veda reci- 
ted by Vedic Brahmans with a view) to 
tender symbolic as well as mental prayers to 
the sun. 

(3) Bibhrad — the fourth chapter of the 
Rudri. 

(4) A passage in Brahman — a portion of 
the Vedas, beginning with the words ^^WTl^ 
Thou art self-existent — is entirely devoted to 
Sun-worship.^ 

(5) Surya-Purana — A treatise relating a 
number of stories in glorification of the sun. 

(6) Siirya-kavacha.^* 

(7) Siirya-gita. 

(8) Surya-Sahasranama — a list of one 
thousand names of SQrya.^^ 

It is customary among Hindus to cleanse 
their teeth every morning with a wooden 
stick, known as datan\ and then to offer 
salutations to the sun in' the form of a verse 
which means: "Oh God, the ddtans are torn 
asunder and the sins disappear. Oh the 
penetrator of the innermost parts, forgive us 
our sins. Do good unto the benevolent and 
unto our neighbours.' Tliis prayer is com- 
mon in the mouths of tlic vulgar laity, '^- 

Better educated people recite a sliloka, 
which runs: "Bow unto Savitri, the sun, the 
observer of this world and its quarters, the 
eye of the universe, the inspirer of all 
energy, the holder of a three-fold person- 



* A similAr custom is observed in Gujarat. Unfortunate parents, who have lost many children, vow to 
grow the hair of their little children, if such are preserved to them, observing all the time a votive abstinence 
from a particular dish or betelnut or the like. When the children are 3 or 5 or 7 years old, the vow is ful- 
filled by taking them to a sacred place, like the temple of Ranchhodji at Dakor, to have their hair cut for the 
first time. This vow is known as biibari in Southern Gujarat. — K. D. Desai. 

' Mr. N. M.Dave, Sanka. ^ Mr. Jethabhai Mangaldas, Gondal. ■' Mr. K. D. Desai. 

♦ Mr. N. M. Dave, Sanka. ' The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohelwad. 
■^ Mr. M. M. Rana, Barton Femile Training College, Rajkot. 

' Mr. G. K. Dave, Schoolmaster, Sultar.pore. 

' Mrs. Raju Ramjee Kanjee, 2nd Assistant, Girls' School, Gondal. 

9 Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 'o Mr. M. M. Rana, Rajkot. 

>i Mr. Girijashankar Karmeashankar, Schoolmaster, Songadh. 

t The Hindus use the tender sprigs of the Nim or Babul trees for tooth-brushes. After they have done 
duty as brushes they are cloven into two and the tenderest part is u?ed as a tongue-scraper. — Khan 
Bahadur Fazlullah. "^ Mr. N. M. Dave, Sanka. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



Hlity (being an iiiibodiniiiit of tlie forms of 
the three gods of tin- Hindu Trinity, 
Bralmia, Vishnu and Maheshvar) — the 
embodiment of tlic thr<r Vidas, the giver 
of happiness and tlie abode of God.* 

Aftor his toilet a high-caste Hindu should 
take a bath and oftVr morninj; prayers and 
arghyas to the sun.- The Trikdla-Sandhya 
is enjoined by the Shastras on every 
Brahman, i.e., every Brahman should perform 
the Sandhyci thrice during the daj' : in the 
morning, at mid-day and in the evening- 
The Sandhya is the prayer a Brahman offers, 
sitting in divine meditation, when he offers 
three arghyas to the sun and recites the 
Gayatri mantra 108 times.* 

Tlic arghya is an offering of water in a 
.spoon lialf filled with barlt-y seeds, sesamum 
seeds, sandal ointment, riee, and white 
flowers. In offering the arghya the right 
foot is folded belo'w the left, the spoon is 
lifted to the forehead and is emptied to- 
wards the sun after reciting the Gayatri 
mantra.* If water is not available for 
offering the arghyas, sand may serve the 
purpose. But tlie sun must not be deprived 
of his arg'hyas_^ 

The Gayatri is the most sacred mantra in 
Lonour of the sun, containing, as it does, 
the highest laudations of him-'' A Brah- 
man ought to recite this mantra 324 times 
every day. Otherwise lie incurs a sin as 
great as the slaughter of a cow.^ Accord- 
ingly a Rudrakshmala, or a rosary of 108 
£,udraksh beads, is used in connecting the 
number of Gayatris recited.' It is exclu- 
Blvely the right of the twice-born to recite 
the Gayatri. None else is authorised to 
recite or even to hear a word of it. Neither 
females nor Shudras ought to catch an echo' of 
even a single syllable of the Gayatri mantra*. 

A ceremony, called Sfiryopasthan, in which 
a man has to stand facing the sun with his 
hands stretched upwards at an angle towards 



the sun. is performed as a part of the 
sandhyii," 

Of the days of the week, Havivar, or Sun- 
day is the most suitable for Sun worship^o. 
Persons wishing to secure wealth, good- 
health and a liappy progeny, especially 
people suffering from disorders caused by 
heat and from diseases of the eyes, barren 
women, and men an.xious for victory on the 
battlefield, weekly observe vows in honour of 
the sun, and the day on which the vow is to 
be kept is Sunday.*'^ It is left to the de- 
votee to fix the number of Sundays on which 
he will observe the vrat, and he may choose 
to observe all the Sundays of the year.^^ 
On such days the devotees undergo ceremo- 
nial purifications by means of bathe and the 
putting on of clean garments, occupy a 
reserved clean seat, light a ghi-lamp and re- 
cite the Aditya-hridaya-patha, which is the 
prescribed mantra for Sun worship. ^^ Then 
follows the Nyasa, (•-<<|y) in the recitation 
of which the devotee has to make certain 
gestures (or to perform physical ceremo- 
nials). First the tips of all the four fingers 
are made to touch the thumb as is done 
in counting. Then Ihe tips of the fingers are 
made to touch the palm of the other hand. 
Then one hand is laid over the other. Then 
the fingers are made to' touch tlie heart, the 
head, the eyes, and the hair in regular order. 
The right hand is then put round the bead 
and made to smite the left.-^ An ashtadala 
or eight-cornered figure is drawn in gulal. 




> Mr. N. M. Dave, Sanka. ' The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohelwad. 

■■' Mr. K. D. Desai. ' ♦ Mr. Jethalal Anupram, Schoolmaster, Aman. 

" The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohelwad. " Mr. K. D. Desai. 

' Mr. N. D. Vora, Rajpara. '^ Mr. K. D. Desai. 

» Mr. M. D. Vyas, Shastri, Bhayavadur. "• Mr. K. P. Joshi, Limbdi, and L. D. Mehta, Mota Devalia, 

" Mr. N. D. Vora, Rajpara, and Mr. B. K. Dave, Kotda-Sangani. '' Mr. B. K. Dave, Kotda-Sangani. 
I' Mr. Nandlal Kalidas, Schoolmaster, Chhatrasa 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



(red powder) and frankincense, red oint- 
ment and red flowers are offered to the sun.^ 
Durva grass is also commonly used in tlie 
process of Sun-worship.- 

Sometimes a hexangular figure is drawn 




instead of the ashiadal^ a copper disc is 
placed over it and the sun is worshipped by 
Panchojvichar or the five-fold ceremonials.' 
Of all ceremonials a namaskar is especially 
dear to the sun.'* It is said : — 

qOq^nriJ'fr Rs^pn^^jofr ^frsprnr!?: II 

A namaskar or bow is dear to the sun ; a 
stream of water (pouring water in a small 
stream over Shiva's idol) is dear to Shiva : 
benevolence to Vishnu and a good dinner to 
a Brahman.* 

In observing vows in the sun's honour on 
Sundays, the following special foods are 
prescribed in particular months v" — 

(1) In Kartika, the first month, the 
devotee is to take only three leaves of the 
Tulsi or the holj' basil plant. 

(2) In Margashirsha, the devotee may 
only lick a few pieces of candied sugar. 

(3) In Pausha, the devotee may chew 
three stalks of green darbha grass. 

(4) In Magha, a few seeds of sesamum 
and sugar mixed together may be swallowed. 

(5) In Phalguna, a consecrated draught 
of curds and sugar may be drunk. 



(6) In Chaitra, people should break 
their fasts with a little ghi and molasses. 

(7) In Vaishakha, the only satisfaction 
allowed to those observing the vrat is to lick 
their own palms three times. 

(8) In Jyeshtha, the fast is observed 
simply on three anjalis or palmfuls of pure 
water. 

(9) In Ashadiia, three chillies may be eaten. 

(10) In Shravana, only cow-urine and 
molasses are tasted. 

(11) In Bhadrapada, cow-dung and sugar 
are partaken o'f. 

(12) In Ashvina, the application of chan- 
dan (sandal wood) either in the form of an 
ointment or of powder. 

Only a few very pious and enthusiastic 
devotees observe all Sundays in the above 
manner. In average cases, the devotee 
allows himself rice, ghi, sugar, milk, i. e., 
white food, the restriction being only as to 
colour,^ 

People observing vows in honour of the 
sun take food only once during the day, and 
that too in hdjas or dishes made of hhakhara 
(or palash) leaves. This is considered one 
of tliie conditions of worship, there being 
some mysterious relation between Surya and 
the khdkhara,^ 

If the Pushya Naksliatra happens to fall 
on a Sunday, the worsliip of the sun on 
that day is believed to be most efficacious in 
fulfilling the desires of the devotees.^ 

Of the days of th<? month, the seventh day 
of both the bright and the dark halves of each 
month* and the AmJivasyii day, i. e„ the 
last day of a Hindu calendar month," are 
set apart for Sun-worship. The ceremonies 
of the worship are the same as those on 
Sundays. In fact, in almost all the obser- 
vances in connection with the sun the same 
ceremonials are to be gone through. Very 
often a Brahman recites the patlia direct- 



2 Mr. G. K. Bhatt. Songadh. 



' Mr. K. P. Joshi, Schoolmaster, Limbdi. 

3 Mr. B. K. Dave, Schoolmaster, Kotda-Sangani. 

• Mr. Girijashankar Karunashankar, Schoolmaster, Songadh. 

^ Mr. Nandlal KaUdas, Schoolmaster, Chbatrasi. 

« The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohelwad. ' Mr. D. K. Shah, Charadavah. 



s Mr. K. P. Joshi, Limbdi. 



9 Mr. N. D. Vora, Rajpara. 



10 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



ing his hosts or hostesses to perform certain 
ceremonial gestures. On the last of the 
number of days which the devotee has 
decided to observe, the vrat is celebrated 
and Brahmans are feasted. This celebration 
of the vrat is known as vratujavavun} 

The special occasions for Sun-worship 
are the Sankranti days and the solar 
«clipses. 

In each year there are twelve Sankranti 
days on which the sun moves from one sign 
of the zodiac to another. Sun-worship is 
performed on all these Sankrfintis, but 
Makara-Sankranti, which falls on the 12th or 
13th of January, is considered the most im- 
portant.- The TJttarayana-parvan falls on this 
-day, i. e., the sun now crosses to his north- 
ern course from his southern, and the time 
of that Parvan is considered so holy that a 
person dying then directly attains salvation. ^ 
On this day, many Hindus go on a pilgrim- 
age to holy places, oft'er prayers and sacri- 
fices to the sun, and give alms to Brahmans 
in the shape of sesamum seeds, gold, gar- 
ments and cows.* Much secret, as well as 
open, charity is dispensed,' grass and 
cotton-seeds are given to cows, and lapsi* 
and loaves to dogs.' Sweet balls of 
sesamum seeds and molasses are eaten as a 
prasad and given to Brahmans, and dainties 
such as lapsi are partaken of by Hindu house- 
holds, in company with a Brahman or two, 
who are given daksliina after the meals.''' 

On solar eclipse days, most of the Hindu 
sects bathe and offer prayers to God. Dur- 
ing the eclipse the sun is believed to be 
•combating with the demon Rahu, prayers be- 
ing offered for the sun's success. When the 
jsun has freed himself from the grasp of 
the demon and sheds his full lustre on the 
earth, the people take ceremonial baths, 
offer praj'ers to God with a concentrated 



mind, and well-to-do people give in alms as 
much as they can afford of all kinds of 
grain.' 

The Chaturmas-vrat, very common in 
Kathiawar, is a favourite one witii Hindus. 
The devotee, in performing this vrat, ab- 
stains from food on those days during the mon- 
soons on which, owing to cloudy weather, 
the sun is not visible. Even if the sun is 
concealed by the clouds for days together, 
the devout votary keeps fasting till he sees 
the deity again.* 

Barren women, women whose children die, 
and especially those who lose their male 
children, women whose husbands suffer from 
diseases caused by heat, lepers, and persons 
suffering from ophthalmic ailments observe 
the vow of the sun in the following manner." 
The vows are kept on Sundays and Amavasya 
days, and the number of such days is deter- 
mined by the devotee in accordance with the 
behests of a learned Brahman. Tlie woman 
observes a fast on such days, bathes herself 
at noon when the sun reaches the zenith, and 
dresses herself in clean garments. Facing 
the sun, she dips twelve red karan flowers in 
red or white sandal ointment and recites the 
twelve names of Surj-a as she presents one 
flower after another to the sun with a bow. t 
On each day of the vrat, she takes food 
only once, in the shape of lapsi, in bajas of 
khakhara or palash leaves ; white food in the 
form of rice, or rice cooked in milk is some- 
times allowed. She keeps a ghi-lamp burn- 
ing day and night, offers frankincense, and 
sleeps at night on a bed made on the floor. ^'> 
People who are declared by the Brahmans 
to be under the evil influence (dasha) of 
Surya, observe vows in the sun's honour and 
go through the prescribed rites on Sundays. 
Such persons take special kinds of food 
and engage the services of priests to recite 



' Mr. K. D. Desai. " Mr. G. K. Bhatt, Schoolmaster, Songadh. » Mr. N. J. Bhatt, Moti-Murad. 

* Mr. Ranchhodji Becher Pandya, Shastri, Jelpur, Sanskrit Pathashrila. ' Mr. M. M. Rana, Rajkot. 
' Wheat flour fried in ghi with molasses. « Mr. K. D. Desai. ' Mr. M. M. Rana, Rajkot. 

« Mr. K. D. Desai. « Mr. N. D. Vora. Schoolmaster, Rajpara. 

•t The names are; 1 Aditya, 2 Diviikar, 3 Bh,"iskar, 4 Prabhrikar, 5 Sahasranshu, 6 Trilochan, 7 Hari- 

tashva, 8 Vibhrivasu. 9 Divakrit, 10 Divrvdarshatmaka, 11 Trimurti, 12 Surya. 
"> Mr. N. D. Vora, Rajpara. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



11 



holy texts in honour of the sun. If all goes 
well on Sunday, Brahmans, Sadluis and 
other pious persons are entertained at a feast. 
This feast is kno\rn as vrat.ujavarun. Some 
persons have the sun's image (an ashtadal) 
engraved on a copper or a golden plate for 
daily or weekly worship.^ 

On the twelfth day after the delivery of a 
child, tlie sun is worshipped and the iioma 
sacrifice is performed. - 

If at a wedding the sun happens to be in 
an unfavourable position according to the 
bridegroom's lioroscope, an image of the sun 
is drawn on gold-leaf and given away in 
charity. Charity in any other form is also 
common on such an occasion. - 

A Nagar bride performs sun-worship for 
the seven days preceding her wedding.^ 

In Hindu funeral ceremonies three argh.yas 
are offered to the sun, and the following 
mantra is chanted'* : — 

3TTff?4r HPF^rfr HPT ?:i%: ^jsTr f^^r^T.-. i 

It means — one should ever recite the six 
names of the Sun, Aditya, Bh;iskar, Bhanu, 
Ravi, Surya, Divakar, which destroy sin. 

The sun is also worshipped on the thirteenth 
day after the death of a person, when arghyas 
are offered, and two earthen pots, contain- 
ing a handful of raw khichedi — rice and 
pulse — and covered with yellow pieces of 
cotton are placed outside the house. This 
ceremony is called gadaso bharvo* 

Rajahs o'f the solar race alwaj-s worship 
the rising sun. They also keep a golden 
image of the sun in their palaces, and engage 
learned Brahmans to recite verses in his 
honour. On Sundays they take only one 
meal and that of simple rice (for white food 
is most acceptable to the sun).'^ 

Circumambulations round images and other 
holy objects are considered meritorious and 



to cause the destruction of sin.'' The subject 
has been dwelt on ah length in the Dharma- 
sindhu-grantha, Vrataraja, and Shodashopa- 
chara among the Dharma-Shastras of the 
Hindus." 

The object round which turns are taken- 
is either the image of a god, such as of 
Ganpati, Mahadev or Vislmu* or the portrait 
of a guru, or his footmarks engraved or 
impressed upon some substance, or the agni~^ 
kunda (the fire-pit)," or the holy cow*'', or 
some sacred tree or plant, such as the Vad 
(banyan tree), the Pipal (ficus religiosa),^^ 
the Shami (prosopis spieegera) , the Amba 
(mango tree), tlie Asopalava tree (Poly— 
althea longi folia), ^- or the Tuisi (sweet 
basil) plant. 

It is said to have been a custom of the 
Brahmans in ancient times to complete their 
daily rites before sunrise every morning, 
and then to take turns round temples and 
holy objects. The practice is much less 
common now than formerly.^* Still, visitors 
to a temple or an idol, usually are careful to 
go round it a few times at least (generally 
five or seven). The usual procedure at such 
a time is to strike gongs or ring bells after 
the turns, to cast a glance at the shikhar 
or tlie pinnacle of the temple, and then to 
return.^^ 

Women observing the chdturmas-vrat, or the 
monsoon vow, lasting from the eleventh day of 
the bright half of Ashadh (the ninth month) 
to tlie eleventh day of the bright half of Kar- 
tik (the first month) first worsliip the object, 
round wliieh they wish to take turns, with 
panchamrit (;i mixture of milk, curds, sugar, 
ghi and honey\ Tlie number of turns may 
be either 5, 7, 21 or 108. At each turn 
thev keep entwining a fine cotton thread 
and place a pendd'^' or a hantasa] or a betel- 
leaf or an almond, a cocoanut, a fig or some 



» Mr. G. K. Dave, Sultanpur. " Mr. H. M. Bhatt, Schoolmaster, Ganod. 

3 Mr. Girijashankar Karunashankar, Schoolmaster, Songadh. * Mr. H. M. Bhatt, Schojlmaster, Ganod, 



5 Mr. Chhaganlal Motiram, Wala Taluka. 

' Mrs. Raju Ramjee Kanjee, Girls' School, Ganod,. 

^ Mr. R. B. Pandya, Jetpur Sanskrit School. 
" Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 
" Mr. D. K. Pandya. Schoolmaster, Dhhank. 

* Milk and sugar ball. 



Mr. R. B. Pandya, Jetpur Sanskrit School. 
' Mr. D. K. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Dhhank. 
'0 Mr. J. D. Khandhar, Sayala. 
'- Mr. N. D. Vora, Rajpara. 
" Mr. N. D. Vora, Schoolmaster, Rajpara, 
tA sugar cake. 



12 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



other fruit before the image or the object 
walked round. These offerings are claimed 
by tjie priest who superintends the cere- 
mony.* When a sacred tree is circum- 
ambulated, water is poured out at the foot 
of the tree at each turn.- 

Dnring the month of Siirfivan (the tenth 
month) and during tlic Purushottama (or the 
intercalatory) montli, men and women observe 
a number of vows, in respect of wliich, every 
morning and evening, tlicy take turns round 
lioly images and objects.'' 

People observing the chdturmds-vrat (or 
monsoon vow), called Tulsi-vivaha (marriage 
of Tulsi), worship tliat plant and take turns 
round it on every eleventh day of both the 
bright and the dark halves of each of the 
monsoon months.^ The gautrat-vrat (gau = 
cow) necessitates perambulations round a 
cow and tlie VatSavUri-vrat round the Vad 
or banyan tree. The banyan tree is also 
circumambulated on the Kapilashashthi day 
(tlic sixth day of the bright hinlf of Marga- 
shirslia, the second montiln) and on tlu- Ama- 
vasya or the last day of Bhadrapada (the 
eleventh month).* 

Women who are anxious to prolong the 
lives of their husbands take turns round the 
Tulsi plant or tjie banyan tree. At each 
turn they wind a fine cotton thread. At the 
■end of the last turn, they throw red lae and 
rice over the tree and place a betelnut and 
a. pice or a ]i;ilf-anna piece before it.^ 

The Shastras authorise four pradakshintis 
(or perambulations) for Vishnu; three for 
the goddesses, and a lialf (or one and a 
half)* for Shiva.' But the usual number 
of pradakshinas is either 5, 7, 21 or 
108. In taking turns round tlie image of 
Vishnu, one must take care to keep one's 
right side towards the image, while in the 



case of Shiva, one must not cross tlie jale^ 
d'hari* or the small passage for conducting 
water poured over thlt: Sliiva-linga." 

Sometimes in pradakshinas the votary 
repeats tlie name of the deity round which 
the turns are taken wJiile the priest recites 
the names of the gods in Shlokas.** Some- 
times the following verse is repeated.* 

^rff m^'^O^rsT ^^qf"T?Tr '^^ ii 

' I am sinful, the doer of sin, a sinful 
soul and am born of sin. O lotus-eyed One! 
protect mo and takti away all sins from me. 
Whatever sins I maj- have committed now as 
well as iu my former births, may every one 
of them perish at each footstep of my 
pradakshind,' 

The recitation and the turns are supposed 
to free the soul from tlie pherd of lakh- 
c}ioryasi'\. Alms are given many times to the 
poor aiier pradakshinas.^^ 

The reason why pradakshinas are taken 
during the day is that they have to be taken 
in the presence of the sun, the great ever- 
lasting witness of all human actions.** 

/T 




2 The Deputy Educational Inspector. Golielwad. 
• Mr. P. L. Metita, Schoolmaster, Luvaria. 
" Mr. M. H. Raval, Ganod. 



' Mr. N. D. Vora, Schoolmaster, Rajpara. 

■•' Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 

' Mr. Jeram Vasaram. Schoolmaster, Jodia. 

' Mr. H. M. Bhatt. Ganod. 

* See figure above. A shows Shiva's image: the arrow-head, the jaliidhari which a person is not to cross. 
lie is to return from the point B in his first round and from the point C in his half turn. Thus B C remains 
uncrossed. The circle round A shows the Khfil, place wherein god Shiva is installed — K. U. Desai. 

•* Mr. G. K. Pave, Sultanpore. ' The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohelwad. 

t Hindus believe that a soul has to go through a lakh and eighty-four thousand transmigrations before it 
attains final emancif ation. The cycle of 1,84,000 births is called the phera of lakli—choryasi.—K. D. Desai. 

'0 Mr. N. M. Dave, Siink'v. " Mr. D. K. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Dhhank. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



As all seeds and vegetation receive their 
nourishment from solar and lunar rays, tlie 
latter are believed in the same Way to lielp 
embryonic development.^ 

The heat of the sun causes the trees and 
plants to give forth new sprouts, and there- 
fore he is called 'Savita' or Producer.- Solar 
and lunar rays are also believed to facilitate 
and expedite delivery. ^ The medical science 
of the Hindus declares the Amavasya (new- 
moon day) and Purnima (full-moon day) 
days — on both of which days the influence of 
the sun and the moon is most powerful — to 
be so critical for child-bearing women as to 
cause, at times, premature delivery.* Hence, 
before delivery, women are made to take 
turns in the sunlight and also in moonlight, 
in order to invigorate the foetus, thus 
securing that their delivery may be eas\'. 
[The assistance rendered by solar rays in 
facilitating the delivery is said to impart a 
hot temperament to the child so born, and 
that by the lunar rays a cool one.]' After 
delivery, a woman should glance at the sun 
with her hands clasped, and sliould offer 
rice and red flowers to him.'"' Sitting in the 
sun after delivery is considered beneficial to 
women enfeebled by tlie effort,^ It is a 
cure for the paleness due to < xhaustion,* 
and infuses new vigour.* 

The Bhils believe that Iht; exposure of a 
new-born child to the sun confers upon the 
child immunity from injurj- by cold and 
heat.i" 

The practice of making recently delivered 
women sit in the sun does not seem to be 



widespread, nor does it prevail in Kathiawar. 
In Kathiawar, on tlic contrary, women are 
kept secluded from sunlight in a dark room 
at the time of child-birth, and are warmed 
by artificial means. ^' On the other hand, 
it is customary in many places to bring a 
woman into the sunlight after a. certain period 
has elapsed since her deliverj'. The du- 
ration of this period varies from four days 
to a month and a quarter. Sometimes a 
woman is not allowed to see sunlight after 
cliild-birth until she presents the child to' 
the sun with certain ceremonies, either on 
the fourth or the sixth day from the date 
of lier delivery .^- 

A ceremony called the SIiashtlii-Karma is 
performed on the sixth day after the birth of 
a child, and the Namkaran ceremony — the 
ceremony of giving a name — on the twelfth 
day. The mother of the child is sometimes 
not allowed to see the sun before the com- 
pletion of these ceremonies.'' Occasionally, 
on the eleventh day after child-birth, the 
mother is made to take a bath in the 
sun.i^ 

Exactly a month and a quarter from the 
date of delivery a woman is taken to a neigh- 
bouring stream to offL-r praj-ers to the sun 
and to fetch water thence in an earthen 
vessel. This ceremony is known as Zarma- 
zarj'an.i-' Seven small betel-nuts are used in 
the ceremony. They are carried by the 
mother, and distributed by her to barren 
women, who believe that, by eating the nuts 
from her hand, they are likely to con- 
ceive. ^'^ 



I Mr. 

^Mr. 

> Mr. 

- Mr. 

9 Mr. 
" Mr. 
IS Mr. 
>5 Mr. 
1" Mr. 



D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 

N. D. Vera, Rajpara. 

Jethalal Anupram, Schoolmaster, Ainan. 

D. K. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Dhhank. 

N. D. Vera, Rajpara, 

K. P. Joshi, Schoolmaster, Limbdi. 



' Mr. N. M. Dave, SSnkri. 

* Mr. D. K. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Dhhank. 

'' Mr. R. B. Pandya, Jetpur Sanskrit School. 

8 Mr. N. J. Bhatt, Moti-Murad. 
10 Mr. D. K. Shah, Schoolmaster, Charadwa. 
': Mr. Nandlal Kalidas, Schoolmaster, Chhatrisa, 



Chhaganlal Motiram, Schoolmaster, Wala Talu. '■* The Deputy Educational Inspector, Goholwad. 
B. K. Dave, Kotda-Sangani, and the Schoolmaster, Movaiyam. 
K. D. Desai. 

2 



14 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



In ditticult labour cases, c}Mkrai('e water 
is soinetinics given to wonioi). Tlic cha- 
kravd is a figure of seven eross lines drawn 
on a bell-metal dish, over which tlie finest 
white dust has been spread, Tliis figure is 
hliown to the woman in labour : water is 
then poured into the dish and offered her to 
drink. 1 The figure is said to be a repre- 
sentation of Cliitrangad.'- It is also 
believed to be coniu-eted witli a story 
in the Mahabliarata.^ Subhadra, the 
sister of god Krishna and tlie wife of 
.'Arjuna, one of the five Pandavas, eonecived 
a demon, an enemy of Krishna. Tlie demon 
would not leave the womb of Subltadra even 
twelve months after the date of lier conceii- 
tion, and began to harass tlic mother. 
Krishna, the incarnation of god, knowing of 
the demon's presence and tlie cause of his 
delay, took pity on the afflicted condition of 
his sister and read chakravii, (Chakravyuha) 
a book consisting of seven chapters and 
explaining the method of conquering 
n labyrinthine fort with seven cross-lined 
forts. Krislina com))lited six chapters, and 
promised to teach the demon tlie seventli, 
provided he came out. The demon ceased 
troubling Subhadra and emerged from 
the womb. He was called Abhimanyu, 
Krishna, never read tlie seventh chapter 
for then Abhimanyu would have been 
invincible and able to take his life. This 
ignorance of the seventli chapter cost Abhi- 
manyu his life on the field of Kuru-kslietra 
in conquering the seven cross-lined laby- 
rinthine forts. As the art of conquering 
a labyrinthine fort when tauglil to a demon 
in the womb facilitated the delivery of 
Subhadra, a belief spre.id tliat drinking 
in the' figure of tlie seven cross-lined 
labyrinthine fort would facilitate the 
deliver}' of all women wlio liad difficulties in 
child-birth." 



The figure 'Swastika (literally auspicious), 
drawn as shown below, is an auspicious 




sign, and is believed to be a mark of good 
luck and a source of blessings. It is one 
of the sixteen line-marks on the sole of the 
lotns-like feet of the god Ishwar, the 
Creator of the Universe.^ The fame of the 
good eH'eets of tlie Swastika figure is said 
to have been first diffused tliToughout society 
by Narad-Muiii, as instructed by the god 
Brahma.-' 

Various conjectures have been made con- 
cerning the origin of this figure. The fol- 
lowing explanation is found in a work named 
Siddhantsar. Tlie Eternal 'Sat or Essence, 
that has neitlier beginning nor end nor any 
maker, exhibits all the religious principles 
in a clialcra or a wheel-form. This round 
shape has no circumference ; but any point 
in it is a centre ; which being specified, the 
explanation of tlie whole universe in a circle 
is easy. TIius the figure •' indicates tlie 
creation of the universe from «Sf;/or Essence. 
The centre with the circumference is the 
womb, the place of creation of the universe. 
The centre then expanding into a line, the 
diameter thus formed represents tlie male 
principle, Jingu-rup^ that is tlie producer, 
througli the medium of activity in tlie great 
womb or maha-yoni. When the line assumes 
the form o'f a eross, it explains tlie creation 
of tlie universe by an unprecedented combi- 
nation of the two distinct natures, animate 
and inanimate. The circumference being 



' Mr. R. B. Pandya, Jetpur Sanskrit School. 

» Mr. K. D. Desai, 

* Mr, D. K, Pandya, Schoolmaster, Dhhank. 



'^ Mr. P. K. Shah, Charadwa. 

■' Mr. N. D. Vera, Schoolmaster, Rajpara. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



15 



removed, tlic reuiaiiiing cross represents the 
creation of the world. Tlie Swastika, or 
Satl'.i.i, as it is souittiines called, in its winged 
form ( ft ) suggests the possession of crea- 
tive powers by the opposite natures, animate 
and inanimate.^ 

Another theory is that an image of the 
eight-leaved lotus, springing from the navel 
of \ ishnu, one of the Hindu Trinity, was 
formerly drawn on auspicious occasions as 
a sign of good luck. The exact imitation 
of the original being difficult, the latter 
assumed a variety of forms, one of which is 
the Swastika. - 

Some people see an image of the god 
Ganpati in the figure. TJiat god being the 
master and protector of all auspicious cere- 
monies has to be invoked on all such occa- 
sions. The incapacity of the devotees to 
draw a faithful picture of Ganpati gave 
]fise to a number of forms which came to be 
known by the name of Swastika.-' 

There are more ways than one of drawing 
tl'.e Swastika, as shown below, but the 




original form was of the shape of a 
cross. The first consonant of the Gujarati 
alphabet, Aa, now drawn tlius H, was also 



originally drawn in tlie form of a cross ( + ): 
Some persons therefore supjK)se that the 
Swastika may be nothing more than the letter 
h [I'"), written in tiie old style and stand- 
ing for the word kali/an or welfare.* 

Tliough the Swastika is widely regarded 
as the symbol of the sun, some people as- 
cribe the figure to different deities, viz., to 
Agni,"' to Ganpati," to Laxmi,'' to Shiva,* 
besides the sun. It is also said to' represent 
Swasti, the daughter of Brahma, who re 
ceived the boon from her father of being 
worshipped on all auspicious occasions." 
Most persons, however, regard the Swastika 
as the symbol of the sun. It is said that 
particular figures are prescribed as suitable 
for the installation of particular deities :' 
a triangle for one, a square for another, a 
pentagon for a third, and the Swastika for 
the sun.i* The Swastika is worshipped in 
the Ratnagiri district, and regarded as the 
symbol as well as the seat of the Sun-god. i* 
The people of the Thana district believe 
the Swastika to be the central point of the 
helmet of the sun ; and a vow, called the 
Sirastika-vraf^ is observed by women in its 
honour. The woman draws a figure of 
the Swastika and worships it daily during 
the Chaturmas (the four months of the 
rainy season), at the expiration of which - 
she presents a Brahman w-ith a golden or 
silver |)latc with the Swastika drawn up:>ii 
it.i- 

A number of other ideas are prevalent 
about the significance of the Swastika. 
Some persons believe that it indicates tlie- 
four directions ;'' some think tliat it re- 
presents the four margas — courses or ob- 
jects of human desires — vi::,, (1) Dharma 
religion ; (2) Artha, wealth ; (3) Kam, 
love ; (4) Moksha, salvation. i' Souie 
again take it to be an image of the ladder 



> Mr. N. J. Bhatt, Sclioolmaster, Moti-Murad. 
' Mr. H. R. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Khirasar'i. 

' Mr. D. K. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Dhhank. 

» Mr. D. K. Shah, Charadwa. 

3 Mr. D. K. Shah, Charadwa. 
" The Schoolmaster, Pendhur, Ratnagiri, 
'^ Mr. Jethabbai Mangaldas, Schoolmaster, GonJa'. 



* Mr. K. P. Joshi, Schoo'.mister, Limbdi. 

• Mr. Girijashaakar Kariinashankar, Scliojlmi ;,ter 

SoQgadh. 

'' Mr. H. R. Pandya, Khirasara. 

•> The Schoolmaster, ChanV, Kolaba. 

'" Mr. N. M. Dave, Sfvnki. 

'- The Schoolmaster, Anjar. 

'* Mr. Girijashankar Karunashankar, Siboslmaster, 
Songadh. 



16 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



Iradiiif: to till- luavtns.i OlIuTS suppose it 
to bca ripr<sciitation of the terrestrial globe, 
.111(1 the four piles of corn placed in tlie 
figure, as shown Ixlow (p. 16) represent 
the. four mountains, Udayachala, Aslachal, 
Mcru and Mandaraehala.- The Swastika 
is also belieh'ed to In- (lie foundation-stone 
of the universe.' 

The Swastika is niueli in favour with tiie 
cods .as a seat or eoueli, and as soon as it 
is drawn it is iiuuiediateiy oeeupitd by son\e 
diity.^ It is customary therefore to draw 
the Swastika on most auspicious and festive 
occasions, such as marriage and thread 
ceremonies, the first pregnancy ceremonies 
and the Divali holidays.^ In the Konkan 
the Swastika is always drawn on the Aniar- 
piit, or the piece of cloth which is held between 
the bride and the bridegroom at the timd 
of a Hindu wedding.'' And at the tiniO of 
the Punyiiha-wiichan.a ceremony whicii pre- 
cedes a Hindu wedding, the figure is drawn 
in rice and is worshipped."' Tiiroughout 
the Chaturmas some persons paint the 
auspicious Swastikas, either on tlicir thresh- 
olds or at their doors, every morning." 

On the sixth day from the date of a 
child's birth, a piece of cloth is marked 
with a .Swastika in red lac, the cloth is 
stretched on a bedstead and the cliild is 
placed upon it.^ An account of : his cere- 
mony is to be found in the treatises Jayan- 
tishastra, Jjitakarma, and Janakalaya.'* 

Before joining the village-school, little 
boys are made to worship Saraswati, the 
goddess of learning, after having installed 
her on a .Swastika, in order that the acquisi- 
tion of learning may be facilitated.* 

A Brahman host, inviting a party of 
fcrother-Brahmans to dinner, marks the figure 
one iX) against the names of those who are 
•eligible for dakshina, and a Swastika against 

' Mr. L. D. Mehta, Mota Devalia. 

' The Schoolmaster, Agashi and Arnala, 

° Mr. Girijashanltar Karunashankar, Songadh. 

■' Mr. D. K. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Dhhank. 

« Mr. M. H. Raval, Vancd. 

" Mr. Girijashankar Karunashankar, Songadh. 



the names of those who are not eligible. 
These latter are the ynjnmans or jiatrons of 
the inviting Brahman, who is himself their 
pujyo, >. e., deserving to be worshipped by 
them. A hinilu or dot, in place of tlic 
Swastika, is considered inausiiicious."* 

The Swastiki is used in calculating the 
number of days taken in pilgrimage bj' 
one's relations, one figure being painted on 
the wall each day from the date of separa- 
tion.'" 

It is said that the .Swastika when drawn 
on a wall is the representation of Jogm.ay.i. 
Jogmaya is a Natural Power, bringing 
about the union of two separated beings.*' 

The Jains paint the .Swastika in the way 
nottd below and explain the figure in 



o o o 



rJ' 



L 



the following manner: — The four projec- 
tors indicate four kinds of souls: rh.^ (I) 
Manushya or Iiuman, (2) Tirj-ach or of 
lower animals, (3) Deva or divine, (4) 
Naraki or hellish. The three circular marks 
denote the three Ratnas or jewels, I'Js., (l) 
Jnan or knowledge, (2) Darshana or faith, 
(3) Charita or good conduct; and the semi- 
circular curvci at the top of the three circles, 
indicates salvation.'- 

^ The Schoolmaster, Ganod. 

• Mr. T. D. Khandhar, Schoolmaster, Sayala. 

" The Schoolmaster, Mith-bao, Ratnagiri. 

■'' Mr, Jethalal .\niipram. Schoolmaster. Aman. 
'" Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 
'2 Mr. K. D Desai 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



17 



Every Jain devotee, while visiting the 
images of his gods, draws a Sathia (Swastika) 
before them and places a valuable object over 
it. The sign is held so sacred that a Jain 
woman has it embroidered on the reticule 
or hothali in which she carries rice to holy 
places.* 

' I am the very light of the sun and the 
moon,' observes Lord Krishna in his dialogue 
with Arjunaj2 and the moon also receives 
divine honours like the sun. Moon-worship 
secures wealth, augments progeny, and 
betters the condition of milch-cattle.* The 
suitable days for such worship are the 
second and the fourth days of the bright 
half of every month (Dwitiya or Bij and 
Chaturthi or Choth, respectively) and 
every full-moon day (Purnima or 

Punema). On either of these days the 
devotees of Chandra (the moon) fast for 
the whole of the day and take their food 
only after the moon has risen and after 
they have seen and worshipped her.* Some 
dorinty dish such as hansdrj or plantains 
and puris,t is specially cooked for the 
occasion. 

A sight of the moon on the second day of 
the bright half of every month is considered 
auspicious. After seeing the moon on this 
day some people also look at silver and gold 
coins for luck,^ The belief in the value of 
this practice is so strong that, immediately 
after seeing the moon, people refrain from 
beholding any other object. Their idea is 
that silver, which looks as bright as the 



moon, will be obtained in abundance if they 
ook at a silver piece immediately after seeing 
the moon.** Moon worship on this day is also- 
supposed to guarantee the safety of persons 
atsea.^ In the south, milk and sugar is offered 
to the moon after the usual worship, and 
learned Brahmans are invited to partake of 
it. What remains after satisfying the 
Bralimans is divided among the community.'"' 
On this day, those w;lio keep cattle do not 
churn whey nor curd milk nor sell it, but 
consume the whole supply in feasts to- 
friends and neighbours.^ The Ahirs and 
Rabaris especially are very particular about 
the use of milk in feasts only: for they 
believe that their cattle are thereby 
preserved in good condition.'* 

The fourth day of tlie dark half of every 
month is the day for the observance of the 
cliai nrthi-vrat (or choth-vrat). This i^rat is 
observed in h'onour of the god Ganpati and 
by men only. The devotees fast on this 
day, bathe at night after seeing tli)e moon, 
light a glii lamp, and oft'er prayers to the 
moon. They also recite a path- containing 
verses in honour of Ganpati, and, after 
worshipping that god, take their food con* 
sisting of some specially prepared disli. 
This vraf is said to fulfil the dreams of the 
devotees.*" 

The day for the chaliirtlii-vrat in the 
month of Bhadrapad (the 11th month of the 
Gujarati Hindus) is the fourth day of the 
bright half instead of the fourth day of 
the dark half,*^ and on this day (Ganesh 



' Mr. Girijashankar Karunashankar, Songadh. 

'■' The Swastika is found at Pompeii and in tlie Greek 'key' pattern. It is also found on Persian and 
Assyrian coins and in tlie Catacombs at Rome. It is to be seen on the tomb of the Duke of Clarence, who was 
drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine, at Tewkesbury, and occurs in Winchester Cathedral, where it is described 
as the fyle-foot.— R. E. E. 

2 Mr. D. K. Pandya, Schoolmaster, Dhhank. Compare a similar idea in the Kuran in the chapter An 
Nur (the Lights): " Allah is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth. The semblance of his light is the 
nyche wherein there is a light." — K. B. FazluUah. 

3 Mr, ]. A. Jani, Schoolmaster, Aman. 

• Mr. N. D. Vora, Schoolmaster, Rajpara ; and Mr, B. K. Dave, Schoolmaster, Kotda-Sangani. 

t Kansar is coarse wheat flour sweetened with molasses and cooked in water until the whole quantity of 
water is absorbed and taken with ghi. 

:J: Paris are cakes of fine wheat flour, fried in ghi. 
« Mr. K. D. Desai. 

* The Schoolmaster, Rajpara. 
1' Mr. K. P. Joshi, Lirabdi, and B. K. Dave, Kotda-Sangani. 



'- Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 
' Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 
" Mr. K. P. Joshi, Limbdi. 
"> Mr. G. K. Bhatt, Songadh, 



18 



THE FOLKLORE OF GU J. lit AT 



diaturtlii') tlic moon is not worshipped. I 
Tlie very sight of ht.r is rij;ardt(l ,is ominous, 
and is purposely .-ivoidcd,^ The story is 
tliat unci' upon a time tlic gods wont out for 
A ridi- in tliiir respective conveyances. It 
so liapixiicd that the i,'od Ganpati fell oft' 
his usual eliarger, the rat, and this awkward 
mishap drew a sniili; from Chandra (the 
moon). G.uipali, not relisliing the joke, became 
angry and cursed Chandra saying that 
no mortal would care to see his face 
on that day (which hap))ened to be the 
fourth day of ti)e briglit half of Bhadrapad). 
If any one happens to see the moon even 
unwiltingly on this day, he may expect 
trowhle very soon.- There is one way, 
however, out of the difficulty, and that is to 
throw stones on the houses of neighbours. 
AVhen the neighbours utter abuse in return, 
the abuse atones for the sin of having looked 
at the moon on the i'orbidden night. The 
day is therefore called (in Gujarat) 
Ddgad-choth, i, e., the Choth of stones.^ 

On tlie fourth day of the dark half of 
Plialgun (the 5tli month of (iujarati Hindus) 
some villagers fast for the whole of the day 
and remain standing from sunset till the 
luoun rises. They break tlieir fast after 
seeing the moon. TJie day is, therefore, 
called iibhi {i.e,, standing) choth,* 

\'irgins sometimes observ<- a vow on Poshi- 
Punema or the full-moon day of Pausha 
(the 3rd month of the Gujarati Hindus). 
On this day a virgin jirepares her evening 
meal with her own hands on the upper 
terrace of Iter house. She then bores a hole 
through the centre of a loaf, and observes 



the moon through it, repeating while doing 
so a vorset wliicli means : O Poshi-Pune- 
madi, hhichadi (rice and pulse mixed to- 
gether) is cooked on the terrace, and th-e 
sister of tjie brother takes lier meal.'' The 
meal usually consists eitlicr of rice and milk 
or of rice cooked in milk and sweetened with 
sugar, or of kansar. She has to ask the 
permission of her brother or brothers before 
she may take her food ; and if the brother 
refuses his permission, she has to fast for 
the wliole of the day.*^ The whole cere- 
mony is believed to prolong the lives of her 
brothers and her future husband. The moon 
is also worshipped at the time of gnha- 
shanti^ i. p., tlie ceremonies performed before 
inhabiting a newly-built house.'' 

If the moon is unfavourable to a maj» born 
under a particular constellation, on account 
of his occupying cither the 6th, the 8tli 
or the 12th square in a kundaliX (see below) 




prayers are offered to the moon ; and if tlie 
\ occasion is a marriage, a bell-metal dish, full 
of rice, is presented to Brahmans.^ 



* All observers of tlie Chaturthi-vrat worship the god Ganpati on this day, and offer him one thousand 
trifoliate sprouts of diFrva (cynodon dactylon). The dish specially prepared for the occasion is Gohina- 
/(ij»— sweet-balls of wheat flour fried in ghi and mixed with molasses. — Mr. N. M. Dave, Siinka. 

' Mr. N. M. Dave, Sfinkfi. J The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohelwad. 

» Mr. K. D. Desai. t Tlie Schoolmaster, Vanod. 

t The original is — 

Posbi Poshi Punemadi, 
AgSshe rfindhi khichadi, 
jame bhaini benadi. 
» The Schoolmaster, Kotda-Sangani and The Schoolmaster, Jodia. 

"Mr. R. B. J'aiulya, Jetpur Sanskrit School, ^ Mr. L. D. Mehta, Schoolmaster. MotaDevalia. 

J A Kundali is an astrological diagram of the position of planets at any particular time. The numbers 
in the diagram change thtir positions according to the position of planets at any given time.— Mr. D. Desai. 
» Mr.^Chhaganlal Motira, Wala Taluka. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



19 



Tlie appearance of the moon and the 
position of the liorns of her crescent at 
particular times are carefully watclied as 
■omt-ns of future events. Cultivators believe 
that if the moon is visible on the second day 
■of the bright half of Asliadh (the 9t]i moutli 
•of Gujarati Hindus), tlie sesamum crops 
of that season will be abundant ; but if the 
moon be hidden from sighl on that day, the 
weather will bo cloudy during the whole of 
Ashadb, and will prove unfavourable to ve- 
getable growth.^ If the moon appears 
reddish on a Bij day (or the second day of 
the bright haJf of a month), and if the 
northern horn of the crescent be high up, 
prices in the market are believed to rise ; 
if, on the other hand, it is low, it prognosti- 
•cates a fall in prices. If the two horns are 
on a level, current prices will continue.^ 

Similarly, the nortlicrn horn of the cres- 
cent, if it is liigh up on the Bij day of 
Asliadh, augurs abundant rainfall ; if it is 
low, it foreshadows a season of drought. - 

If the moon presents a greenish aspect on 
the full-moon day of Ashadh, excessive rains 
may be expected in a few days ; if on that 
day she rises quite clear and reddish, there 
is very little hope of good rains ; if she is 
partly covered by clouds when she rises and 
then gets clear of the clouds, and then again 
disappears in.the clouds inthi&e gliadis ,'* three 
polwrs^'"' or three daj's, rain is sure to fall.'' 

If on the 5th day of the bright half of 
Chaitra, the moon appears to the west of the 
Roliini constellation, the prices of cotton 
are believed to rise ; if to the east, they are 
said to fall; and if in the same line, the 
current rates are believed to be likely to 
continue. ■* 

The Bij (2nd day) and the ninth day of 
Ashadh (the 9th month of the Gujaratis 
and the 4th month of the Hindus of the 
Deccan) falling on a Sunday is a combina- 
tion that foretells excessive heat. If they 



fall on Wednesday, intense cold is said to be 
the result. Their occurring on a Tuesday, 
threatens absence of rains, and on a Monday, 
a Thursday or a Friday, foreshadows ex- 
cessive rainfall."' 

Thunder on Jeth-Sud-Bij, or the second 
day of the bright half of Jyeshtha, is a bad 
omen and threatens famine.'' 

TJie spots on the moon have given rise to 
numerous beliefs, mythological as well as 
fanciful. One of them is tliat they are Vhe 
result of a curse, pronounced by the sage 
Gautama on Chandra. Indra, the god of rain, 
was infatuated with the eliarms of Alialya, 
the wife of Gautama, and with the help 
of Chandra laid a cunning plot to gain his 
ignoble object. Accordingly, one night, 
Chandra set earlier than usual, when Indra 
assumed the form of a cock and crowed at 
midnight in order to deceive Gautama into 
the belief that it was dawn, and therefore 
his time for going to tlie Ganges to perform 
his religious services. The trick was 
successful, and the holy sage being thus 
got rid of, Indra assumed the form of 
Gautama himself and approached Ahalya, 
who was surprised to see her Imsband (as 
she thought) so quickly returned. The wily 
god allayed her suspicions by explaining 
that it was not yet time for the morning 
ceremonies, and thus enjoyed the favours 
due to her husband. Gautama, in the 
meanwhile, finding the water of the Ganges 
cool and placid, and discovering that it was 
not yet dawn, returned to his hermitage. On 
reaching home he detected tJie treachery of 
Indra, who tried to escajie in the disguise of 
a tom-cat. TJie exasperated sage then 
cursed Indra, Chandra and his wife : Indra 
to have a thousand sores on his person 
Ahalya to turn into a stone, and Chandra to 
have a stain on his fair face.'^ 

Another mythological story is that Daksha 
Prajapati, the son of Brahma, gave all his 



' Mr. N. M. Dave, Sanka. 2 The Schoolmaster, Khandhar. 

* One ghadi is equal to 24 minutes and one pohor (prahara) lasts for three hours. 
3 Mr. M. P. Shah, Schoolmaster. Zinzuwada. « Mr. N. M. Dave, Sanka. 

'Mr. M, P. Shah, Schoolmaster. Zinzuwada. « Mr. N. M. Dave. Sanka 

' The Schoolmasters of Dhhaak, Rajpara and Limbdi 



20 



Tin: FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



twenty-seven daughters in marriage to 
Chandra, wlio was inspired with h)ve for onu 
of tlieni onl_v, named Rohini, the most 
beautiful of llieui all, Tlie slighted twenty- 
six sisters complained to tlwir father, 
Daksha, of Chandra's preference for Rohini, 
Dakslia in anger cursed Cliandra to be 
attacked by consmnption (whieli is supposed 
to be the reason of the waning of the moon) 
and his face to be marred by a stain. ^ 

The curse of Gautama and the curse of 
Daksha are also supposed to be reasons of 
the waxing and tht' waning of llio moon. 

Another belief regarding the moon-spots 
is that when the liead of Gaupati was 
severed by Sliiva's trident, it flew oft' and 
fell into the chariot of the moon. The 
spots are either the head itself- or are due 
to drops of blood fallen from the flying 
severed head.'^ 

The spots are also said to be explained by 
the fact of the image of god Krishna or 
Vishnu* residing in the heart of tht- moon 
who, as a devotee of Vishnu, holds iiis image 
dear to his heart.* 

The moon is often called mrigdiila {lit, 
deer-marked) and mriga — IdnchUaiia (lit 
deer-stained) ; and a further explanation of 
the spots in this connection is that the moon- 
god took into his lap a strayed deer, out 
of compassion, and thus his lap became 
stained.'' Jains believe that in the nether 
parts of the moon's vivian or vehicle, there 
is an image of a deer whose shadow is seen 
in the spots.'' 

Some persons declare the spots to be 
a shami tree {prosopis spicigera)J The 
belii'f of the masses in Gujarat is said to be 
that the spot on the moon's disc is the seat 
of an old woman, who sits spinning her wheel 



with a goat tethered near her.8 If the 
droppings of the goat were to fall on earth, 
departed souls would return to the carth.^ 

It is said that a child and a tree are 
never seen to grow except tluruig the night- 
Such growth is therefore held to be due to 
lunar rays.^" As all trees, jdants, etc.. 
thrive owing to the, influence of the moon,, 
the moon-god is called the lord of herbs. 
The moon is also a reservoir of nectar and is 
called Hitdhakar, i. e„ one having necta- 
rine rays." As the lord of herbs, the moon- 
god is supposed to have the i)ower of remov- 
ing all diseases that are curable by drugs^ 
and of restoring men to liealth.^- 

Persons suff"ering from white leprosy, 
black leprosy, consumption and diseases of 
the eyes are believed to be cured by the 
observance of tlie Ti'ij and Punema vows.^' 
Consumption in its incipient and latter stages 
is also said to be cured by exposure to the 
rays of tlu- moon.'* Constant glimpses of 
the moon add to the lustre of the eyes.is 
On the Sluirad-Punema, or the 15th day of 
the bright half of Ashvin (the last month of 
the Gujaratis and the 7th month of the 
Deccani Hindus), tailors pass a thread 
through their needles in the belief that they 
will thereyb gain keener eyesight.'*^ 

A cotton-wick is exposed to the moon on 
Sharad-Punema, and is afterwards lighted in 
oil poured over the image of Hanuman. The 
soot, which is tlwis produced, if used on tlie 
Kali-chaudas day — the fourteenth day of the 
dark half of Ashvin — is said to possess much 
eflScacy in strengthening the eyesight and 
also in jjreserving the eyes from any disease 
during the ensuing year.^^ 

Sweetened milk or water is exposed to 
moonlight during the whole of the night of 



' The Schoolmaster, Kajpara. = The Schoolmaster, Dadvi, ^ The Schoolmaster, Lilapur. 

» Throughout the Hindu Scriptures, Vishnu and his incarnations are described as being of Shyama-^ 
varria or dark complexion. — Mr. K. D. Desai. 

• The Schoolmaster, Dadvi. = The Deputy Educational Inspector, Ilalar. " Mr. K. P, Joshi, Limbdi. 

' The Schoolmaster, Lilapur. ' Mr. Nandlal Kalidas.Chhatrasa. ■ Mr. M. P. Shah, Zinzuwada. 

>o The Mistress ot Rajkot Civil Station Girls' School. " Mr. Nandlal Kalidas, Chhatrasa. 

'J Rao Saheb Shelke and the Shastri of Bhayavadur. '■' The Schoolmaster, Rajpara. 

1* The Schoolmaster, Dhhank. He refers to the books Vrataraj and Pathyapathya on this point. 
>' The Deputy Educational Inspector, Halar ; and the Schoolmaster of Chauk, Kolaba. 
•• The Schoolmaster, Jodia. " The Schoolmaster, Kolki. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



21 



Sharad-puncma (the full-moon day of Ashvin) 
in order to absorb the :iectarine rays of the 
moon, and is drunk next morning. Drink- 
ing in the rays of the moon in this manner 
is believed to cure diseases caused by heat 
as well ;is eye-diseases, and it similarly 
strengthens the ej'( sight and improves the 
complexion. * Sugar-candy thus exposed and 
preserved in an air-tight jar is partaken 
of in small quanlities every morning to gain 
strength and to improve the complexion. - 
The absorption of the lunar rays through 
the open mouth or ej-es is also believed 
to be of great effect in achieving these ob- 
jects.^ 

Once upon a time the gods and demons, 
by their united efl'orts, churned the ocean and 
obtained therefrom fourteen ralnas or pre- 
vious things.* These were distributed among 
them. Lakshmi, the kaustubhfl jewel, the 
Sharnga bow and the conch-shell fell to the 
siiare of Vishnu, and the i)oison, Haldhal 
visha, was disposed of to Shiva. Only two 
things remained, siidha, or nectar, and sura 
or liquor. To both gods and demons the 
nectar was the most important of all the 
prizes. A hard contest ensuing between them 
for the possession of it, the demons, by 
force, snatched the bowl of nectar from the 
gods. In this disaster to the gods, Vishnu 
<:ame to their help in the form of Mohini — a 
most fascinating woman — and proposed to 
the demons that the distribution of the 
immortalising fluid should be entrusted to 
her. On their consent, Vishnu or Mohini, 
made the gods and the demons sit in 
opposite rows and began first to serve 
the nectar to the gods. The demon Rahu, 



the son of Sinhika, fearing lest the whole 
of the nectar might be exhausted before the 
turn of the demons came, took the sliape of 
a god and placed himself amongst them bet- 
ween Chandra (the moon) and Surya (thf 
sun). The nectar was served to him in turn, 
but on Chandra and Surya detecting the 
trick, the demon's head was cut off by 
Vishnu's discus, the sudarshana-chahra, 
Rahu however did not die : for he !iad 
tasted the nectar, which had reached his 
throat. The head and trunk lived .uid 
became immortal, the former being named 
Rahu, and the latter Ketu. Both swore 
revenge on Cii.indra and Surya. At times, 
therefore, they pounce upon Chandra and 
Surya with the intention of devouring them. 
In the fight that ensues, Chandra and Surya 
are successful only after a long contest, 
with the assistance of the gods, and by the 
merit of the prayers that men offer.^ 

The reason of the eclipse is either tliat 
Chandra and Surya bleed in the fight with 
Rahu and their forms get blackened' ; or 
that the demon Rahu comes between the two 
luminaries and this earth, and thus causes an 
eclipse® ; or because Riihu obstructs the sun 
and the moon in their daily course, and this 
intervention causes an eclipse' ; or because 
Rahu swallows the sun and the moon, but 
his throat being open, they escape, their 
short disappearance causing an eclipse.'' 

Besides the mythological story, there is a 
belief in Gujarat that a bJtangi (scavenger 
or sweeper), creditor of the sun and the moou, 
goes to recover his debts due from them, and 
that his shadow falling against either of 
them causes an eclipse.' 



1 Tt\e Schoolmasters of Rajpara, Limbdi, and Ibhrampur. 

« Mr. K. D. Desai. i The Shastri of Jetpur, Pathashala. 

* The following Sanskrit verse mentions all of them: — 

tr^Ht? =^5T5r ^M^ ^t^ it »Tir'7w||xii 

Rao Saheb P. B. Joshi. 

* The Schoolmasters of Jodia, Dhhank, Songadh, Rajpara, and Limbdi. 

5 The Schoolmaster of Khirasara. " Mr. D. K. PanJya, Dhhank. 

■> Mr. Laxmichand Hemji, Vasawid. ■•' Mr. G. K. Bhatt, Songadh. ' Mr, K. P. Josti L'mbdi. 



22 



TUlu I'ULKLOUE Of CUJAHAT 



A third fxpl.iii.itioii (il llir <clipsc is tliat 
the sun aiui tlu- iiiotui rivolvi' round llic 
Meru uiouiitaiii, ind tlw sliadow of tho 
mountain f'alliiip; ujioii citlxr of Hum causes | 
an cclii>si--. ' 

It is bi-liovcd .imongst Hindus that eclipses 
occur when too niucli sin accumulates in this 
world.- Most Hindus regard an eclipse as 
ominous, and consider the eclipse period to 
be unliol)' and inausi>ici<ius. The contact of 
the demon Ralui with tlie rays of the sun 
and the moon pollutes everything on earth. 
Great precautions therefore become neces- 
sary to avoid pollution,' A period of three 
pohors* (prahai.i) in the case of the moon, 
and of four in the case of the sun, before 
the actual commencement of an eclipse, is 
known as vedha, i, e-, the time when the 
luminaries are already under the influence of 
the demon. During this period and during 
th'e time of an eclipse people observe a 
strict fast. Anyone taking food within the 
prohibited period is considered suiahi or 
ceremonially iinjjure, as if a death had 
happened in his family.' An exception 
is, liowever, made in the case of children, 
pregnant women and suckling mothers who 
cannot bear the pri\ation of a strict fast. 
From the beginning of an eclipse to its end, 
everything in tJie liolise is believed to be 
polluted, it touclied.' 

As the sun and Ih'c moon arc believed to 
be in trouble during an eclipse, people 
offer prayers to God from the beginning 
of the vedha for their release. It is 
the custom to visit some holy place on an 
eclipse-day, to take a bath there, and to 
read holy passages from the Shiistras. Some 
people, especially Bralimans, sit devoutly on 
river-banks and offer prayers to the sun.' 
Much secret as well as open eliarity is given 
at tlic time of an eclipse. But the receivers 



of charity during tlie .utu.il pnind of an 
eclipse are tlie lowest cl.isses only, sucll as 
bliangis, iiuihfirs and miings. When an 
eclipse is at its full, these peojile go about 
the streets giving vent to such cries as ap6 
dtin chhutv chiind (give alms for tlie relief of 
the moon 1).^ 

Among the gifts such people receive are 
cotton clothes, cash, grain such as sesamum 
seeds, udad^ pulse.s, and salt.'"' The gift of 
a pair of shoes is much recommended.^ 
Sometimes a figure of tlie eclipsed sun or 
moon is drawn in piari seeds and given away 
to a hhongt^^ 

Although the period of an eclipse is consi- 
dered inauspicious, it is valued bj' those who 
profess the black art. All mantras^ incanta- 
tions, and pini/ogas^ applications or experi- 
ments, whicli ordinarilj- require a long time 
to take effect, i)roduce the wisln-d for result 
without delay if performed during tlie pro- 
cess of an ecliiJse." 

If a man's wife is ))regnant, he may not 
smoke during the period of an eclipse lest 
his child become deformed.^" Ploughing a 
farm on a lunar-eclipse day is supposed to 
cause the birth of Chandra-children, i. p., 
children afflicted by the mooii."> 

After an eclipse Hindus bathe, ixrform 
ablution ceremonies, and dress themselves ia 
clean garments. Tlie houses are cleansed 
by cowdunging tjie floors, vessels are rubbed 
and cleansed, and clotlies are washed, ia 
order to get rid of the pollution caused by 
the eclipse. 1^ Unwashed clotlies of cotton, 
wool, silk or hemp, according to j>o])ular 
belief, do not become polluted,'^ The 
placing of dnrhha grass on things which are 
otherwise liable to pollution is also sufficient 
to keep them unpolluted. '- 

Bralimans cannot accept anything during 
the imj)ious time of an eclipse, but after it 



' Mr. K. P. Joshi, Limbdi. 

" Mr. La.xmicliand Hemji, Vasawad. 

« Ml. D. K. Pandya, Dlihank. 

" Tlie Sclioolmastersof Jodia and Songadh. 

8 Mr. N D, Vora, Rajpara. 

"> Mr. K. D Desai. 

•I Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dliliank, 



2 Mr K. D. Desai. 

* A pohor ot prahar is equal to tliree hours, 

'' Mr. Kljan Babadur Fazlullab. 

' Mr. K. D. Desai. 

" Mr. G. K Bhatt, Songadh. 

" The Schoolmaster o( Jodia. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



23 



is over, alms are freely giveu to them in the 
shape of such costly articles as fine clothes, 
gold, cattle and the like. ^ 

After an eclipse Hindus may not break 
tlieir fast till the}' have again seen the full 
di.se of the released sun or the moon. It 
sometimes happens that tlie sun or the moon 
sets ghcrayuld (while still eclipsed ), and 
l)eople have then to fast for the whole of 
the night or tlie day after, until the sun or 
the moon is again fully visible.- 

There is a shloka in tlie J yotish.Slmsira 
lo tlie effect that Rrihu would surely devour 
Cliandra if tlie nakshatra^ or constellation 
of tlie second day of the dark half of a 
preceding month, were to recur on the 
Purninia (full-moon day) of the succeeding 
month. Similarly, in solar eclipses, a 
similar catastrophe would occur if the 
constellation of the second day of the bright 
half of a month were to recur on tlie 
Amjivasya (tlie last day) of tliat month.''' 
The year in which many eclipses occur is 
believed to prove a bad year for epidemic 
diseases.'* 

The Jains do not believe in the Hindu 
theory of grahana (or the eclipse).' Musal- 
mans do not perform the special cere- 
monies beyond the recital of special prayers ; 
and even these are held to be superero- 
gatory.'' 

With the exception that some people be- 
lieve that the stars are the abodes of the 
gods,^ the popular belief about the heavenly 



bodies seems to be that they are the souls of 
virtuous and saintly persons, translated to 
the heavens for their good deeds and endow- 
ed with a lustre proportionate to their 
merits.* And this idea is illustrated in the 
traditions that are current about some of the 
stars. The seven briglit stars of the con- 
stellation JSaptarsJd (or the Great Bear) 
are said to be the seven sages, Kashyapa, 
Atri, Bharadwaj, Vishwamitra, (iautama, 
Jamadagni and Vasishtha, who had mastered 
several parts of tlie I'edas^ and were consi- 
dered specialists in the branches studied by 
each, and were invested with divine honours 
in reward for their proficienej'.''* Another 
story relates how a certain liunter and his 
family, who had unconsciously achieved 
great religious merit, were installed asi the 
constellation Saptarshi* (or the Great Bear), 
A hunter, it is narrated in the Shi I'tu till i- 
mcihrilmya, was arrested for debt on a 
Shivratri] day, and while in jail heard by 
chance the words 'Shiva, Shiva* repeated by 
some devotees. Without understanding their 
meaning, he also began to repeat the same 
words, even after he was released in the 
evening. He had received no food during 
the day, and liad thus observed a compulsory 
fast. In order to obtain food for himself 
and his family, he stationed himself 
behind a BelX tree, hoping to shoot a deer 
or some other animal that might come to 
quench its thirst at a neighbouring tank. 
While adjusting an arrow to his bowstring, 



1 Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhliank. 2 ^r. K. D. Desai. 

■< Mr. D. K. Shah, Charadwah. « Mr. T. D. Khandhar, Sayala. 

' The Schoolmaster, Jodia. « Khan Bahadur Fazlullah. 

' Mr. M. M. Rana, Barton Female Training College, Rajkot. 

* Mr. Nandlal Kalidas, Chhatrasa, and Mr. M. M. Rana, Barton Female Training College, Rajkot. 
9 Mr. Motichand Vasanji Doshi, Kaluwad. 

* I believe the name of the constellation is wrongly given : it ought to be Mriga. One of the stars in this 
group, known as 'Sirius', in Western astronomy, is often called Vyiidha (;'. e., the hunter). — Mr. K. T. Gupte. 

The Mrig constellation is also said to represent the goddess Saraswati, who had assumed the form of a 
gazelle in order to escape the amorous grasp of Brahma, her father. While the deer in the Mrig constellation 
is Saraswati, the Ardra constellation is Mahadev who had followed to chastise Brahma, who also is seen as 
the Brahma constellation.— Mr. N. M. Dave, Siinka. 

t The thirteenth day of both the bright and dark halves of a month, sacred to the worship of god Shiva. 

J The three-leaf-clusters of this tree are loved by the god Shiva if put upon his image. — Mr. K. D. Desai. 



24 



THE FOLKLORE OF CLJARAT 



he plucked some Uavos out of tlit- thick foli- 
age of tile tree aiul threw tliiiu down. The 
leaves, however, chanced to fall on a ifhiva- 
linga which I»a[>j)enid to stand below, and 
secured for liiui tin- merit of liaving wor- 
shipped god Siii\a with Bel-lea\c.s on a 
JShiiriilri day. He >va.. also all the while 
repeating the god's name and had undergone 
a fast. The result w-as that not only were 
liis past sins forgiven, but tie was placed 
with his family in heaven.' 

Similarly, Dhruia, the son of king Uttana- 
pad, attained divine fa\our by unflaggii'g 
devotion, and was given a constant place in 
tlie lieavens as the immovable pole-star.- 

According to Hindu astrology, there are 
nine graftn* * or planets, twelve reishis't or 
signs of the zodiac, and twenty-seven 
TiaL-slMras^ or constellations. Books on 
astrology explain the distinct forms of the 
nakshalras. For instance, the Aslivini con- 
stellation consists of two stars and presents 
the appearance of a horso. It ascends the 
zenith at midnight on the purnima (the 1 5th 
day of the briglit half) of Ashvin (the f.rst 
mouth of the Gujarati Hindus), The constel- 
lation of Mrig consists of seven stars, four 
like the legs of a sofa and three otlijers 
under them in a line. All these twenty- 
seven groups of stars r<'acii the zenith at 
midnight on particular days in i)articid,ar 
months ; and the months of the Hindu calen- 
dar are named after thcm.^ 

All planets influence the life of a person, 
one way or the other, according to their 



position in the heavens at the time of his 
birth- A itindnVi^ i, c., a figun like the one 




shown here, is drawn by astrologers to 
illustrate the respective positions of the 
planets. The twelve squares of the diagram 
represent the twelve signs of the zodiac, 
and the positions of the planets in different 
squares influence persons in differtjnt ways. 
Ravi (the Sun), Budha (Mercury) and Shu- 
kra (Vacuus) occupy one rdsJii for one month ; 
Chandra (the Moon) occupies it rashi for 
135 gVin(/j.y,1! /. e., two days and a qu;»rter ; 
Moiiiga! (Mars) for one montli and a half ; 
Cfiiru (Jupiter) for thirteen months ; Shaiii 
(Saturn) for two j'ears and a half, and Rahu 
for a year and a half. This is their normal 
and ordinary motion. But if they take an 
.abnormal course and move i itlier too fast or 
too slow, the.v finish their revolution through 
a rdsJii within a shorter or a longer period.^ 
If the planet Guru (Jui)iter) occupies 
either the 1st, 3rd,4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, or 12th. 
square of a kurulali^ it is said to bring about 
a rupture with friends, pecuniar}' wants, 
and an increase in the number of enemies. •''■ 



» Mr. D. K. Pand.v.-i, Dhliack. ^ Mr. N. M. Dave, Sankfi. 

* The nine gralias ate, Ravi (the Sun), Chandra (the Moon), Mangal (Mars), Budh.^ (i.Iercury), Guru 
(Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn), and Rahu and Ketu. 

t The names of the twelve rdslris sie : — 1 Mesha (Aries), 2 VrisUabha (Taurus), J Mithun (Gemini). 
4 Karka (Cancer;), 5 Sinha (f.eo) , 6 Kanya (Virgo). 7 Tuli (Libra), 3 \rishchika (Scorpio), 'j Dhanu 
(SaRittarius), 10 Makara (Capricornus) 11 Kumlilia (Aquarius). 12 Mini (f'isces). 

J The following are the twenty-seven vakshatrar.: — 1 Ashvim, 2 Bharani, 3 Kritikfi 4 Kohiui, 5 Mrig, 
6 Ardra. 7 Punarvasu, 8 Pushya. 9 Ashlesha, 10 Magha, 11 Purva-plialguni, 12 L'ttara-phrilguni, 13 Hasta, 
14 Chitrii, 15SwAti, 16 Vishakha. 17 Anuradha. 18 Jyeshtba, iy Miil, 20 i'urviisfaadlia, 21 UttarashOdha, 
22 Shravana, 23 Dhanishtha, 24 Shalalfirakrt, 25 Ptirviib';i'Jrap,ida, 20 Lttarabhadrapada, and 27 Kevati. 

» Mr. D. K. I nndya, Dhhank. "J One ghaili-—2^ minutes. 

* Mr. Motechand X'aanji Ooshi, Kjlaw.ad. ' The Schoolmaster, Dadvi, 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



25 



If Shaiii (Salurii) occupies the Isl, 2iid, 
4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9tli, or the 12th square 
in .1 man's kvndali, it causes despoudenc)' of 
mind, family quarrels, innninent injuries 
from foes, and pecuniary wants.' 

Tlie presence of Manual (Mars) in tile 
3rd, the 6th, or the 1 Kli square is auspi- 
cious.' 

Of the nine jilanets, Budlia, (Juru, and 
Cliandra are henevolent, Mangal and Ravi 
are neitiier bene\olent nor baneful; and 
Shani, Raiiu, and Ketu are downrijjht malev- 
olent.-' Each planet lias a story connected 
■with it concerning its benevolence or mali v- 
olence, and sliowing .also tlie way to secure 
its propitiation. For instance, the malev- 
olence of Shani drove King Vikrama to 
unknown countries, and subjected him to 
grave calamities. On the advice of .i wise 
man, however, he observed tlie .Saturdav- 
vows and tiius overcame his difficulties.'' 

When .1 planet is unfaM>ur.il)le to a 
person, it lias to be ]>ri)pitiated by vows, and 
the i>erson who is under its < vil influence 
often lays upon himself Ihe obligation of 
abstaining from |)articular .articles of food 
or from wearing certain articles of clothing 
for a certain number of d.iys.^ Particular 
da,j'S of the week are set apart as .appro- 
priate for the worshi|> of particular plam-ls, 
and, on such days, the person keeping the 
vow observes a fast and worships the planet 
through the medium of a Brahman,"' For 
instance, vrais or vows are observed on Tues- 
days in honour of Mangal (Mars), when an 
image of the planet, engraved on a golden 
dish, is worshipped, and the person observing 
the vow takes food consisting of wheat only, 
and that too, onlj' once during the day. This 
THode of fasting is followed for a number of 
consecutive Tuesdays prescribed bj- an astro- 



loger; and on the last Tuesday, when puma- 
kuti* is offered, IJrahmans are feasted and 
dakshina is given to tliem. X piece of red 
cloth and some corn are used in the installa- 
tion of the planet ; these and the golden 
engraving are carried away by the priest. ' 

Similarly, in propitiating RTiliu and Ketu 
the s.iine ceremonies are gone through ; only, 
instead of wheat, mug (Phasoleus miingo) is 
eaten by the devotee. In the same way 
Shani (Saturn) is s.iid to favour the diet of 
adad (or lentils): (iuru (.lupiter) inclines to 
chana (or gram), while Shukra (Wnus) 
favours cholii (di)lielios sinensis).'' 

Certain I'ornis or figures, called inandals 
are favourid by partieul.ir gnilias^ ,uid are 
drawn in their honour in worshipping tlieru. 
Different things, too, ,ire gi\ rn in charitv in 
honour of different planets." 

All the nine grahii.s ,ind the tw<nt v-seven 
nakshatras are W()rslii|iped on the occasion 
of the Griha-Shanti ceremony, which is per- 
formed before occujiying a newly erected 
building.'- 

It is considered inausj)icious to hold a 
marriage ceremony while Shukr.i (Venus) is 
invisibh-. In such a ease, however, the cere- 
mony may be performed after setting up ;ind 
worshipping a small golden image of the 
planet. 

Of the stars, the constell.itioii of saptiusJii 
is perhaps the one most often Worsliipped. 
Its worsliij) forms a part of tlu' ceremonies 
performed on the occasion of investing boys 
with the sacred thread' and .also of the cere- 
moiiits of marriage. The worship of the 
sapiorsJii on marriage occasions is believed 
to be an attestation of tile marriage, and to 
secure the benigii care of the sapiarshi for 
the couple. The form of worship is some- 
times as follows: a red and white piece of 



' The Schoolmaster of Dadvi. 
" M. H. Raval, Vanod. 
■• N. D. Vera, Rajpara. 
' D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 



2 N. M. Dave, Sanka. 
* Hirji Monji, Ganod. 
" Gangaram Tribliowandas, Lilapur. 



/. e., a handful of rice, ghi, cocoanuts, and some other objects are cast into the 6re as an offering. 



2G 



Till-: FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



cloth is strtti'li((l <iii lln- groiiiui, luariiig an . calf and a luitVr In lii- married, an enter- 
image of llic sapUirshi ovt-r it: wheat anil taiiinitiit bt iiig simultaneously givtn to one 
rice are scattered over tlu' clotli, a ghi-lauip hiindnd and eiglit Brahtnaiis, and on tiie oeca- 
is lin-hled, and red la( and Howcrs are ofl'ered sion ol' \'astii or the ceremonies performed 
to tile image. "^ Ano.hci- form of worship before or at the time of occupying a newly- 
is tu mark seven red) ic-dols on a p(ill(i or a built house, burnt oHVrings and worship are 
wooden stool, and to pl.iee seven pice and ofl'ered to Hk sapltirxliiS' 

seven betel-nuts thereon. After worship- I Every Bralimaii must oH'ir tirglii/ns^ to, 

ping the seven pice, the bridal pair arc made , and worship, thr (igaxti/ii constellation, in a 

to take four turns round tlu- stool, touching hut of clarblia^ .and Lasadci^^ within seven 
the stool with their great toes at every turn. 
A proverb runs to the eft'ect that, whatever may 



happen to the couple, still the seven piee of 
satpati (/'. e., the ceremony described) are 
secure.'- A third process is to form seven 
small piles of kamod* on each of which, 
successivi ly, the bride places her right I'oot 
while the bridegroom removes each pile one 

by one.-' 

The fifth day of the bright iialf of Blia- 
drapad (the eleventh month of the Gujarati 
Hindus) is observed as a day of worship in 
honour of the sapturshi group. People 
observe a fast on that day. Hrfdmians set 
up sev( II chats'^ in honour of the seven sages, 
adding an i ighlh in lionour of Arundhati, 
the wife of Vasishtha, and worship them by 
shodashoparliar (i. e. sixteen-fold ceremonial). 
The worship is said to secure felicity for 
departed souls.' 

The saplar.ihi are also annually worship- 
ped by Brfdimans on eoeoanut-day (the 15th 
day of the bright lialf of Shravan) on the 
occasion of changing their sacred threads. 
Hindu seamen also worship the constellation 
on the same day.^ 

In the performance of the N'll-panriii cere- 
mony, which is held to |)roi>itiale the spirits 
of departed ancestors, and which requires a 



days from the date of its appearance. 
Failure to make this ort'ering brings pollu- 
tion on him for seven months, and disquali- 
fies him from performing any of the rites or 
ceremonies prescribed by th«- Shastras.'' 

Married couples .ire m.ide to look at the 
Pole star immediat<ly after the Hymenal 
knot is tied by the jiriest, in the hope that 
they may be as long-lived or as inflexible or 
unmoved by the ups and downs of lift.- 

The twelfth day after the death of a 
person, known as Tnra-htlia.\ (or the star- 
twilfth) is kept as the day of star-worship by 
the relatives of the deceased, when one 
member of the family observes a fast on tliat 
day in honour of the deceased, and takes 
food only after worshipping the stars at 
night. It is eustoniary on this day to give 
up the use of bronze vessels and to give them 
away in charity. '^ 

■lust as persons carrying or accomjianying 
a corpse to the cemetery are considered 
siitaki (under ceremonial impurity), so tliose 
who witness this rite are also considered 
unclean : but they are purified by a sigiit of 
the stars. '^ 

■^'oung girls watching the starry sky at 
night recite a verse which means, " I worship- 
ped the star-spaiigled firmament first and 



' K. P. Joslii, I.imbdi. '' R. B- Pandya, Jetpur Sanskrit Pathasbala. 

' The Schcolmaster of Khirasara. ' D. K. Tandya, IMihanli. and N. M. Dave, Sanka. 

5 B. K. Dave. Kotda-Sangani. " Jairam Vasaram, Jodia. 

' Kalyanji Bliaishankar, Koiki, and K. B. I'andya, Jetpur. » G. K. Bhatt, Songadh. 
* A superior kind of rice. t Twisted braids of darbha grass. 

I Arghya is an offering of water in a spoon filled with barley seeds, sesamura seeds, sandal ointment,. 
rice, i\nd flowers. 

§ Two varieties of sacred grass, used in thatchinf; roofs. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



27 



then my lover Ablila dablila Kankuna 
dablila* — " Ye stars ! blind tlie prowling 
thief and seize him if he tries to steal away, 
and your blessings on my lord confer !"^ 

The Rohini and Krlttika constellations, 
popularly known as Gadli, are supposed to 
indicate the rise and fall in the cotton- 
market. - 

The dimmest star of the saptarshi group 
foretells the death of a person within six 
moutlis from the date on which it becomes 
invisible to him.'' Again, if a man cannot 
perceive the saptarshi or the galaxy in the 
skv, it is considered such a bad omen that 
his end is believed to be near at hand.' 

The rainbow is believed to be the bow of 
Indra,t the god of rains, and is therefore 
called ' Indra-dhanushya,' We see it when 
Iiidra draws his bow to release the rains 
fri>ni the rakshasas (demons) ;•'■ or, when 
successful in bringing down rain, Indra 
manifests his glory by drawing a bow ;'' or 
when in the struggle for supremacy between 
Suunner and the rainy season, Indra draws 
his bow to defeat Summer." 

It is also believed that when Ramchan- 
dra, the hero of the Rdmai/ana, adjusted an 
.arrow to the bow of Shiva, to compete for 
tile hand of Sita in the swayanivara (or 
maiden's-choice marriage) celebrated by her, 
the bow was split into three pieces, which 
ever since present themselves as rainbows in 
the sky.s 

Tile rainbow is popularly regarded as an 
indication of good or bad rainfall according 



as it appears at particular hours and in 
particular directions. If a rainbow appears 
in the cast a speedy rainfall is expected ; if 
on the other hand it is seen in the west, rain- 
fall is apprehended to be distanl." Some 
people, however, believe the contrary, i.e., 
they regard the appearance of a rainbow 
in the west as ;in indication of good rains^ 
and in the east as a sign of scarce r:infall.'f 
Perhaps botli ideas are reconciled by a third 
belief according to which the appearance of 
a rainbow in a direction facing the sun, 
indicates the proximity of rain."^ 

If a rainbow is seen at sunset or sunrise 
just before the commencement of rain the 
fall of rain will be excessive ; but if it 
appears after rainfall, the rain will pro- 
bably cease.*- According to some persons 
the appearance of a rainbow in tlie morning 
portends a drouglit." There is, however, a 
popular saying to the effect that were the 
kachbi^ i. e., the r.iinbow, to be seen at sun- 
rise in the west, it foretells great floods 
before nightfall." 

The sight of a rainbow is sometimes re- 
garded as a bad t>men. Some belie ve that it 
shortens a man's life and brings misfortunes 
to him.'' Others believe that it is calami- 
tous to a man's relations by marriage, espe- 
cially to the mother-in-law, who is sure to lose 
her power of hearing.** People sometimes 
clash earthen vessels against one ano'her to 
avert the evils which are to be feared from 
a rainbow.'-' It is also said that the sight of 
the whole of the rainbow is a good omen : 



' Odhowji Avichal, Lakhapadar. 

■'' The Deputy Educational Inspector of Gohelwad. 

L. D. Mehta, Mota Devalia. 
' N. M. Dave, Sanka. 
» D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 
" Tlie Schoolmaster of Luvaria. 
" Tlie Schoolmaster of Khandhar. 
>5 Mr. M. M. Rana, Barton Female Training College, Rajkot. 
* Meaningless terms. 

■f Indra has full sway over the twelve meghas (or clouds), of which Shamaghana is the greate:it. Indra 
directs them to pour down waters in whatever regions he likes. At the time of the deluge he lets loose all the. 
twelve meghas under the lead of Shamaghana an i thus brings about the destruction of is world. — N. D 
Vora, Rajpara. 



■•i Talakshi Dharamsi, Khandhar. 

* HTJi Monji, Gano I. 

'^ NanJlal Ka'.iJa-, Chhatriisa. 

* The Schoolmaster of Palanvar. 
'0 K. P. Joshi, Limb !i. 

!'•' Mr. Kalyanji Bhaishankar, Kolki. 
'• Mr. R. B. Pandya, Jetj ir. 



28 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



but till! siglil <>1' a part, however large, is ■ celestial regions is held in great respeet by 

inauspicious.^ the gods' and purifies the heavenly bodies, 

According to the Purdnas, the milky way [ just as tlie earthly Ganges washes away the 



or ahiish-ganga is the celestial River Ganga 

■wliich was brought down by Bhaglrath to 

the earth.- King Sagar once performed an 

ashwa-mcdha'' saerifiec, when, aeeording to 

custom he let loose a horse, and sent his | 

I 
sixty thousand sons witii it. Indra, jealous 

of the growing power of Sagar, stole the 
horse and concealed it in the hermitage of 
Kapila, wlien the sage was deeply absorbed 
in religious meditation. The sixty thousand 
sons of Sagar followed it to this asylum, 
where they taunted and insulted the sage, 
believing him to be the thief. Kapila, who 
was ignorant of the theft, opened his long- 
closed eyes in anger, emitting sparks of 
flame from them, and destroyed the sons 
of Sagar together with the whole of 
their army. Bhagirath, the grandson of 
Sagar, propitiated the sage, and on his advice 
practised religious austerities in honour of 
Shiva for the purpose of bringing down the 
River Ganga from heaven. Through the 
kindness of God Shiva, Bhagirath was at last 
successful in bringing the celestial river 
down to this world ; and with the water of 
the river he revived the sons of Sagar. The 
River Ganga (;. <"., tlie Ganges) in this world 
is therefore also known by the name of Bha- 
giratlii. It is this heavenly river which 
we see as the milky way.^ Like the sacred 
Ganges on tlie earth, the River Ganga in the 



worst sins of mortals.' 

Some people, however, believe the milky 
way to be the track by which the holy 
Ganges descended from heaven to earth.'' 

Aiiotliir belief is that the God Vishnu, at 
the time of his Vaman (or Dwarf) incarna- 
tion, touched the ina (i. e., the Egg) in his 
third footstep and thus caused a flow of 
waters, which is known as tikash-gatigo/- 
Some su))pose the milky way to be a ladder 
leading to the heavens." Astrologers call 
it J'atsa, a fictitious creature with numerous 
horns, mouths, and tails.** According to 
another bilief, the milky way consists of two 
reklu'is — lines — one of sin and the other of 
good and meritorious actions. The length 
of one line compared to the other betokens 
the predominance of good or evil as the 
case may be." The milky way is also sup- 
posed to be the track left by the rath or ear 
of Ramacliandra.^'' 

Akash-ganga or the milky way is said to 
consist of one crore and eighty laes of 
stars.'' If a man cannot perceive the milky 
way in the sky, his end is believed to be near 
at hand.'- 

The Musalmiins declare the milky way 
to be the track formed by the footstep 
of the horse of the Prophet ^luhannnad, 
on the occasion of his night-journey to 
Heaven.' 



' Mr. D. K. Shall, Charadwali. 

* Mr. Jairam Vasaram, Jodia, and B. K. Dave, Kotda-Sangani. 

' Mr. Vallabh Ramji, Mendarda. * Mr. N. D. Vora, Rajpara. 

» Mr. Nandlal K«lidas, Chhatrasa. Mr. Jetl.alal Anupram, Aman. 

' Mr. Jairam Vasaram, Jodia. » Mr. N. M. Dave. SiinkS, 

9 Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dlilianlf. '» Mr. K. B. Fazlullah. 

» Mr. G. K. Bhall. Songadh. '= Mr Hirji Monji, Ganod. 

• Wlien a king desired to be Chakravarti — Sovereign of all India — he used to perform a horse-sacrifice, 
and a horse was let loose with a copper-plate fastened to its head uith the name of the king engraved upon 
the plate. The horse moved in front followed by the king's army. Those who were not willing to ac- 
knowledge the suzerainty of the king challenged his army by seizing the horse. Such a horse-sacrifice, if 
successfully completed, threatens the power of Indra, who is therefore said to be very jealous and to create 
obstacles to the performance of such sacrifices — K. D, Desai. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



29 



Tlie occasion Tor earth-worsliip most fre- 
• queiitly arises wlicii anytliin^- is to bo built 
upon its surfacf. At tlu- time of setting the 
manek-stambha, or tile tirst pillar of a mar- 
riage-bower or a bower for a tliread-cerc- 
monj',' before commencing the construction of 
wells, reservoirs, and tanks' and in laying 
the foundation-stone of a house, a temple, or 
a sacrificial pit,- or of a street, a fortress, a 
<city, or a village,-^ or of any constructive 
work raised upon or made under the ground, 
certain ceremonies, called khat.muhiirt or 
hhat-puja^ are performed. The earth-motiier 
is then worshipped in the manner prescribed 
in tlie Shastras^ to propitiate hor against 
interruptions in the completion of the work 
undertaken. The owner or the person inter- 
ested in the new construction pours a little 
water on the earth where the found ition-pit 
is to be dug, sprinkles red lac and giilal 
(red powder), places a betel-nut and a few 
precious coins, and digs out the first clod of 
earth himself.' Some of the tilings offered 
to the earth at the time of khatpuju are 
pcinclidmrif," betel-nuts, betel-leaves, panclia- 
icitiia (or the five kinds of [jreeious things, 
namely, gold, silvi r, co])per, coral, and 
pearls), a bowl and green garments.- Under 
tlie influence of particular rashis (signs of 
the zodiac), particular corners of the build- 
ing uinler construction arc required to be 
dug in the Icliat-muhiirl ceremanics.*' For 
instance, a little digging in the north-west 
■ corner is believed to be favourable to the 



constructor who ha ) pens to be under tl)e 
influeiiee of Siiilui (Leo), Kaiii/a (\'irgo) and 
Tula (Lii)ra) : in the north-east corner, if 
under the influence of Vrishcliihu (Scorpio), 
Dhaiiii (Sagittarius) and Malar (Caprieor- 
nus) ; in the south-east corner if under the 
sway ,>t' Kumbha (Aquarius), M'lii (Pisces) and 
Mciha (Aries): in the south-west corner in 
the case of J'ri.^liabh (Taurus), Mithuii 
(Gemini) and Kailc (Cancer).-' After the 
worship of the earth-mother, sugar or molas- 
ses is distributed among neighbuurs, hvstaii- 
ders and relatives, in token of the auspieious- 
ness of the occasion.-' An image of G-injiati 
is worshii)ped in a eopper-dish, this is Ijuried 
undirground, and a brick is laid on it when 
starting the work of construction.-^ I-i 
setting up the manek-stambha on marriage 
occasio:is, a small earthen bowl is filled with 
milk, curds, turmeric, f/((;'i'«-sprontst and 
mag seeds (phasoleus mungo) , and buried in 
the ground after being sprinkled over with 
red lae .uid rice.*^ 

The ceremonies appertaining to Ickat. 
miihilrt ,-ire treated of at length in a book 
called Dharma-sliiilhii.' They are lielieved 
to secure durability of construction.' 

On the Dasaid^ day or the 10th day of 
the bright half of Aslivin (the last month), 
Rajas go out in state with their ministers 
and subjects to worship the eartli-mother and 
the holy sliami tree (prosopis spieegera). A 
wettf d plot of ground is first dug over with 
pikes, javdld (tender wheat plants) and 



= Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhliank. 
• Mr. Talakshi Dharashi, Sayala. 
" Mr. Jairam Vasaram. Jodia. 



' Mr. N. D. Vora, Rajpara. 

^ Mr. N. M. Dave, SankiT. 

c The Schcolmaster of Dadvi. 

T The Schoolmaster of Gondal Taluka 

• A mixture of milk, curds, ghi, honey and sugar. 

+ Dfirva is a kind of sacred grass. 

X On the Dasara holiday, whicli is also known as Vijay^uliislniu, Hindus take special dishes, dress them- 
selves in their besi garments and go out of towns and villages to worship the eirth-mother and the holy shumi, 
with yiTuSM stalks, a few of which are inserted in the folds of their head-dress as auspicious tokens. In towns, 
and big cities a procession is formed, conducted by some city magnate or a native chief riding an elephant. 
They go in state to the pUce of wjrship, and after the completion of the worship a goat or a he buffalo, 
preferably the latter, is killed, and a salvo of three to seven or more cannon is fired. People then return home 
-and prostrate themselves before their elders, and receive from them a handful of candied sugar, a betel-nut and 
leaf, with blessings for long-life and prosperity. Su:h blessings are considered likely to prove effective. — 
K. D. Desai. 



30 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



sJuimi Ic.ivcs nrf tlii-ii uiixod with the muddy 
c.irlli, and small balls of the mixture an- 
uiadf. A |)ici' and Ixtcl-nut arc jjlaced in 
tad; li.ill, and tin v art- pr) siiid <1 la the wor- 
sliippi-r as a mark ol' good luck. Travellers 
carry such balls with them on their journeys 
lor luek. Kings carry the same to obtain 
success on the Iiattli-firld. Tin- Pandavas 
had such balls with tluui on the field of 
K'.ii'ukshi tra when tht y obtained a victory 
o\( r the Kaur.ivas.^ 'I'lie balls are also 
used as pastdnd/^ The jovdlii in the balls 
are taken out and allowed to grow in an 
earthen vessel filled witii clay and manure 
til! lh(y reach a s])an in litiglh, wht m tiny 
are taken up and uscd.- 

Earth-worship is ));rfornuil before bury- 
ing treasure underground, atul also when a 
marriage-procession, at the time of return- 
ing, reaches the limits of the bridegroom's 
village.-' 

Ill souir places, virgins worshi[) the j)lot 
of groiiiui lui which the Holi is lighted, for 
about ten or twelve days after the Iloli 
lioliday. ' 

Auotle. r occasion for earth-worship is the 
third day of the bright half of Chaitra (the 
sixth month), on which day Vishnu saved 
the earth in his \'arrdia (or Boar) incarna- 
tion, when it was being carritd to the nether 
regions by the demon Shankhasur.'' 

On the eighth day of the bright half of 
Magh and also of A^hvin (the fourth and the 
last month respectively), nnucdija (an obla- 
tion of food) is offered to the earth-mother, 
and is then used as her prasacl (gift). No 



cooked food is allowed to fall on llnr ground 
on this day: even the leavings after meals- 
are given away to cows.'' 

When any ceremony is to be performed on 
the earth's surface, as nuich of the spot as 
is required for the ceremony is cleansed b.v 
watering it and i)lastering it with cow-dinig. 
A betel-nut and a pice are then ])laced on it 
as the CJk'kIu or rent of the spot." 

On those occasions when dalislunit is given- 
to 15rahmans outside the \iliage limits, wor- 
ship of the earth-mollier is perfornn d by 
pouring milk on the ground, and by j)lacing 
seven betel-nuts and seven single cop2)cr- 
|iieces thereon.'* 

Some ambitious Brahmans dig earth 
from near the roots of a banyan tree after 
offering prayer to the (arth, and out oF 
it, make an image of I'aitJiisliiidr — Lord 
of the Earth— hoping thereby to obtaiir 
wealth. The same ceremony, if obscrvtd 
near the roots of a pipal tree (ficus 
religiosa), is believed to confer wialtli and 
male issuc.'- 

When Vishnu killed the demons JNIadhu 
and Kaitabha, the earth was strewn with 
their flesh and marrow {meda). Therefore 
the earth is called nicdini, and for the same 
reason is unclean, and no holy objects are 
allowed to touch it.^ Another explanation is 
that the earth was rendered unclean because 
blood was shed on its surface in thi- 
combat of the demon \'ritrasur with the god 
Indra.i" 

The things polluted by a contact w-itli the 
earth are either objects which are to be 



^ Mr. Jairam Vasaram, Jodia. 

• Mr. Talakslii Dliarasbi, Savala. 



' Mr. N. D. Vera. Rajpara, 

" Mr. II. M. Bhatt, Ganod. 

" Mr. B. K. Dave. Kotda-Sangani. 

' Mr. Nandlal Kalidas, Cliliatrasa, and the Sclioolmaster of Jasdiin. 

' Tlie Scliool master of Patanvav. s Tlie Schoolmaster of Suhanpur. 

'•' Mr. Laxraicliand Hemji, Vasavad. "> Mr. Madtiowji Tulsirarn, Movaiya. 

* Some Hindus, wlien intending to go on a journej-, consult an aslrologer as to tlie multiirt or auspi- 
cious liour for setting out. If tl.ey do not happen to leave their place at the prescribed moment, tliey put a 
pasrUii'i — some of the articles to be carried by tl em in th.eir journey — such as a suit of clothes or a box in a 
neighbour's house as a token of the'r having set out at the stated time. — K. D. Desai. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



31 



dedicated to gods, sucli as sandal-wood oint- 
riient, pdiichamrit^^ tlic leaves of the bel tree 
(Aegle marmelos), Uilsi leaves (leaves of 
the holy or sweet basil plant), betel-leaves 
and flowers ;' or objects which are sacred 
because of their liaving been dedicated to 
tlie gods, including t'irtha- or water used in 
bathing the images of godst ; or things 
which are by nature so holy that it is impro- 
per to place them on the bare earth ; for 
instance, images of deities, water of the 
sacred Ganges or the Jumna," anv holv 
writ,' a conch-shell and even gold.-^ 
Cooked food also deserves respect, as it 
supports the lives of men, and it is sinful in 
a Hindu to let it lie on the bare ground. 
Any irregular conduct in this respect arouses 
the wrath of the Annadeva (or the food, 
deity ).« 

It is, however, maintained by some that the 
reason why certain things, such as materials 
of worship, are not allowed to touch the 
earth, is that the earth itself being a deity, 
such things would be dedicated to this deity 
by a contact with the earth and would thus 
become incapable of any further use, as 
things that are iTeclicatcd to one deity can- 
nut again be offered to another." 

During the course of the recitation of 
mantras (holy hymns) in honour of Vishnu 
, and ilahiideva ; on the occasion of offering 
prayers to the graJias (planets) for their 
propitiation ; and on occasions like Vishnii- 
i/'iga,t Mahanidra,^ Shalachandi, Gayatr't. 
piirashchara^ and Brahmana-varana' the 
devotee or the sacrificer and the priest 



slec}) on thirbha grass or on clean woolle.n 
blankets, spread on the bare ground. "^ 

Other occasions for sleeping on the floor 
are the days of the observance of certain. 
vrnts or \ows ; such as, the Divasa or the 
15th day of the dark half of Ashfidh (the 
j ninth month), the Jamiidslitami or the 8th 
day of the dark half of Shravana (the tenth 
montii), the days of Ooatrael, a rrat lasting 
from the lllh day to the 15th day of the 
bright lialf of Bhadrapad, Mahashivariitri 
or tiie Itfli day of the dark Iialf of Magh,. 
the Ekadashi day or the 11th day of both 
the bright and dark halves of a month,* the 
Xcivrntni days or the first nine days Ashvin,. 
eclipse days, and the day of Jagran or the 
15th day of the bright half of Ashadh,'* 
besides, sometimes, the whole of the months 
of Shravana and the Purushottam or inter- 
calary month ; and the cliatiirmdtt, i._ e, the 
four montiis of the rainy seasdii.'* 

A Brahman in his hrtihmacluiri/ii (or the 
period of his life which, according to the 
S/idstras^ should be devoted to the acquire- 
ment of learning, and which commences from 
the date of his being invested with the 
sacred thread and terminates at the age of 
twenty-three ) and a widow are not allowed 
by the SJidsfras to sleep elsewhtre than on 
beds made on the ground.^ 

Women, while in menstruation, sleep on 
the floor for four days.- Some women, 
when they are separated from tiieir husbands, 
also sleep in this fashion.* 

A dying person, two or three minutes be- 
fore his death, is placed on the ground, which 



'' The Schoolmaster of Lilapur. 
* Mr. D. K. Pandya. Dhhank. 
"^ The Schoolmaster of Dadvi. 



' Mr. N. D. Vera, Rajpara. 
■■• Mr. Jairam Vasaram, Jodia. 
' Mr. K. D. Desai. 
' The Schoolmaster of Gondal Taluka. 

'^ Mr. M. M. Rana, Barton Female Training College, Rajkot. 
* A mixture of milk, curds, ghi, honey, and sugar. 

t Such objects are taken in a plate and thrown over a tnlsi (or sweet basil) plant. — K. D. Desai. 
J Sacrifices in honour of Vishnu, Mahadev and the goddess Chandi, respectively — K. D. Desai. 
5 A form of devotion requiring the recitation of the Gayatii-vi antra a hundred thousand times with 
certain symbolic ceremonies. — K. D. Desai. 

II The appointment of duly authorised Brahraans to perform religious ceremonies — K. D. Desai. 



32 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



is first purified willi cow-dung-plastcr.^ 
For ten d;iys after a death, tlie lueinbers of 
the deceased's household and his relatives 
sleep oil beds spread on the bare f>;ro""d.- 
If tlie cU'niise be very aft\etliig, tlie nearest 
relatives sleep on the Hoor lor |)eriods which 
Jiiay extend In llirre iiKHillis, six months, or 
■even for a year, and sometimes the penance 
lasts for tiicir whole lives.' 

It is customary, among souu sects, not to 
allow (lie sutharn — i- c .^ the spot lately occu- 
jiied l)y a corpse in the house — to be suna or 
unoccupied for a single night. Someone must 
sleep on the spot for twelve consecutive days 
from the date of demise '^ 

Pilgrims,* after pilgrimage, .abandon sen- 
sual pleasures, take their meals only once 
every (lay, and sleei) on tlie Hoor.' It is cus- 
tomary to sleep always on the ground while 
in holy places- Devotees, ascetics, sSdhus, 
and their disciples sleep on the ground. - 

The (Jod Indra has twelve meghas or 
clouds under his control, and he directs each 
of them to pour out their waters wherever he 
likes. When in the least irritated in the exe- 
cution of his orders, Indra's voice is heard 
in this world in thunder-claps which rise to 
a terrible pitch if the deit}- becomes down- 
right angry. '^ Thunder is also said to be ' 
the loud laughter of Indra when in a happy 
mood,'* 



Another belief is that during the rainy 
season, Indra plays gcdi-ddndiif^ and the 
strokes given to the gedi in the course of the 
game, produce what we call tlmiuler ;•* or 
that the clouds arc god's foothills, and 
thunder is produced by his foot striking 
them, while at l)lay during the rainy suason.- 
Some believe thunder to be due to the loud 
sounds produced by xarious musical instru- 
ments which arc played upon the occasion 
of the marriage-ceremony of Inilra.'' Accord- 
ing to others, thunder is produced bj' the 
cannon of Indra ;' or, as some again say, by 
the trunipetings of Airiirtit, the elephant of 
Indra*; or, we hear thunder when Indra 
draws his bow and adjusts an arrow to the 
bow-string, in order to bring about the fall 
of rain.-' 

A further belief attributes tlunider to the 
very rapid pace of the chariot of Bliag- 
wan.'" Some people, however, say th.it it is 
produced when Bhiuia (niu ot the iive 
Pandavas ) wields his prodigious club or 
bludgeon." In the opinion of others, \'idyut 
or Tanyatun, the oH"spring (>f I.aniba, the 
daughter of Daksha, and the wife (it Dliar- 
maraj thunders in the rainy season.'- It is 
also suggested that the god of rains shakes 
the heavens and thus produces thunder.' 
The ShSslras^ it is said, declare that thunder 
is caused by the sounds of the diinduhhi — or 



2 Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dliliank. 
' Mr. L. I. Joslii, Siu'ela. 



1 Mr. M. M. Rana, Rajkot. 

' Mr. Jairam Vasaram, Joclia. 

5 Mr. K. P. Joshi, Limbcli. 

" Mr. N. D. Vera, Rajpara, or of Bliagwaii, according to Jairam Vasaram, Jodia. 

' Mr. N. M. Dave, Sanka. " Mr. N. D. Vora, Rajpara. 

s The Stiastri of Jetpur. Patliashala. '" The Schoolmaster of Prioirmvav. 

'1 Mr. G. K. Dave, Sultanpur. '- The Schoolmaster of Rajkot Girls' School. 

* Intending pilgrims sometimes impose such self-denials upon themselves, vowing abnegation from parti- 
cular articles of food or wear till they have performed their pilgrimage. Some renounce the use of ulii, some of 
milk, others of betel-leaf or nut, otl;ers swear not to wear a turban or a dupatta — till they are given the merit 
of a pilgrimage. — Khan Bahadur Fazlullah. 

t This game, much resembling the English boys' game of Tip cat, is also known as tiiUl-tliinda. The 
gedi or gilli is a small piece of wood, two or three inches in length, an inch or less in diameter and sometimes 
tapering at both ends. The il(inihi is a small round stick, of the same thickness arid a foot or more in length, 
by whicli the gcdi is played. There are two sides to the game as in cricket, though not composed of a definite 
number of players. There are a number of ways in which the game can be played. — K D. Pesai. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



33 



kettledrums — beaten by the gods in deliglit 
at the sight of rain.* There is also a 
popular belief in the Surat district that an 
old hag causes thunder either when she 
grinds corn or when she rolls stones in the 
clouds. - 



that T'ijli is a goddess who rests upon 
winds, fire, and rains S' that J'ijU is but the 
thunderbolt of Indra:' that lightnings are 
the flashes of the bright weapon of Indra :8 
that lightning is the lustre of the fireworks 
and the lamps lighted by the gods in honour 



Tlie prevalent belief about lightning seems j of the nuptials of Indra : ^ that lio-htnin 



to be that it is the girl whom Kansa tried to 
dash against a stone, but who escaped and 
went up to the sky. Kansa, the tyrant king 



g IS 



produced by the sparks caused by the friction 
of the gedi and the ddiidd of Indra when the 
god plays the game.^o Fijli is also known 



of Mathura, was informed by a heavenly I as Saudamini, /. c., one residing on iMount 
voice, by way of prophecy, that a son would I Sudauia.'* 



be born to his sister who would cause his 
destruction. Kansa thereupon confined his 
sister Dovaki and her husband Vasudeva in 
prison, loaded them with fetters, and kept the 
strictest watch over them. He took from 
Devaki, and slew, every child of hers as soon 
as it was born. In this way ho disposed of 
her first six children. On the seventh 
occasion, however, on which Devaki gave birth 
to a son named Krishna, a girl was born at 
the same hour to Nanda in Mathura : and 
Vasudeva secretly interchanged the two 
children in spite of the vigilance of Kansa. 
When Kansa knew of his sister having been 
delivered, he seized the infant girl and tried 
to dash her against a stone. The little one 
immediately flew away to the skies, where 
she still dwells in the form of Fijli or liglit- 
ning.^ 



The occurrence of thunder and the appear- 
ance of lightning on particular days and in 
particular directions are regarded as signs of 
the abundance or scarcity of rain during the 
season. 

TInnider during the Robini nakshatra* is 
a bad omen : it foreshadows either a 
famine,*- or a Boterun^ i, c.. complete cessa- 
tion of rains for seventy-two days after the 
thunder-claps arc heard.*' According to 
another view, if the Rohini nahshatra lasts 
for a fortnight and if the sky is clear during 
the period and yd lightning and tluinder 
occur, a Botentn will be the consequence; but 
if lightning and tliunder were to accompany 
the clouds in the same nahshatra, heavy and 
plentiful rains may be confidently expected..*^ 
Lightning without clouds in the same nak. 
shaira is believed to be the cause of what is 
The Shastras describe FijU as the distine- i i)opularly called Rohini -f/n-j, i.e., the burning 



tive weai)ou of Indra, just as pashiipatdka is 
peculiar to Shiva and the Gnndiva bow to 
Arjuna.^ 

Other beliefs about lightning are that 
Vijli is the sister of Megharaja, the god of 
rains, and appears to announce his approach :» 



heut of Rohini.*^ 

Some persons expect a Boterun after 
kadakas or crashing thunder. Others appre" 
hend a f.imine if they liear thunder on the 
second day of the bright half of Jyeshtha 
(the eightli month .* 



' Mr. H. M. Bhatt, Ganod. 2 Mr. K. V. Deia;. 

' The Schoolmasters of Dhhank, Sanka, Limbdi, and Sultanpur. 

« Mr. M. M. Rana, Rajkot. t The Schoolmaster of Lilapur. 

' The Schoolmaster of Charadwa. ' The Schoolmaster of Surela. 

» Mr. N. M. Dave, Sanka. • Mr. n. D. Vora. Rajpara. 

" The Schoolmaster of Kolki. 11 The Schoolmaster of Gondal. 

" Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 13 Mr. B. K. Dave, Kotda-Sangani. 

" The Schoolmaster of Dadvi. * i.".. the period for which the Rohini nakshatra lasts. 



84 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



Tliundcr or lightning in the Hasta* 
nakshatra forttells good harvests and a pros- 
perous ycar.^ Thundi-r in the same nak- 
shatra is believed to muzzle the jaws of 
serpents and other noxious creatures, and to 
achieve this object, also, a samelu (or a log 
of wood) is struck against a mobhard (or a 
hollow stone used for threshing corn).- If 
thunder is not heard during tiiis nahshatra, 
mosquitoes and other insects and vermin are 
believed to be likely to uuiltiply.^ 

If thunder is heard during the Ardra 
nakshatra, the rainfall will be delayed for a 
month.'' 

Lightning is commonly seen on the second 
and the fifth day of the bright half of 
Asliadh, and is considered a sign of good 
rainfall, while its absence indicates a pro- 
bable scarcity of rain/ Its appearance on 
the fifth day of Ashadh is believed by some 
to foretell an early fall of rain.^ Since 
the rainfall, and therefore the state of the 
crops during the ensuing year, are suggested 
by lightning on tliis day, corn-dealers settle 
a rise or fall in tlie price of corn according 
as lightning is or is not seen on that oeca- 



(i 



sion. 

Thunder in the east predicts a speedy fall 
of rain.'^ If flashes of lightning are seen 
in the north-east or the north, rain will fall 
within three dnys."^ Lightning in the south- 
east or the south foretells extreme heat." 



Long-continued thunder shows that the rain. 
fall is distant. Similarly, continued flashes 
of lightning intimate danger to the lives and 
property of people.^ Sudden thunder por- 
tends an immediate cessation of r.iin.^ 
Thunder or lightning out of season threatens 
calamity to the country.^ 

I'ijli or lightning is said to be fettered on 
the fifth day of the bright half of Asliadh — 
(or, as some say, on the second day of Shra- 
van)- — after which date no apprehensions 
of its destructive powers need be enter. 
tained.'' Till then, however, it is free and 
is likely to injure those persons! who have 
not cut or shaved their hair from their 
birth.ii' 

The occurrence of lightning is believed to 
eausD the delivery and sometimes even the 
death of pregnant women. ^^ 

Any period marked by the occurrence of 
lightning is considered inauspicious. ^- 

The Puranas speak of fourteen worlds — ■ 
the seven swargas (celestial regions) and 
the seven patals (nether regions)!. Under- 
neath the seventh jmtal^ lies Shesha (the 
divine cobra) who supports all the fourteen 
worlds on one of his one thousand hoods. On 
account of the heavy burden, the serpent-god 
sometimes gets tired, and tries to change his 
position. The result of the movement is au 
earth-quake.^ According to another version, 
an earthquake occurs when Shesha changes 



' Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 
s Mr. B. K. Dave, Kotda-Sangani. 
•'■ The Schoolmaster of Dadvi. 
^ Talakshi, Dharashi, Saya'.a. 
5 Mr. M. M. Rana, Rajkot, 
'' The Schoolmaster of Charadwa. 



"- Mr. N. M. Dave, Sanka. 

* The Schoolmaster of Luvaria. 

6 The Schoolmaster of Snngadh. 

' Mr. Li H. JadowjVasawad, 
'0 Mr, G. K. Dave, Sultanpur. 
'- Mr. Jairam Vasaram, Jodia. 



* The Hasta nalishatra generally commences at the end of Bhddrapad or the beginning of Ashvin and 
lasts for a fortnight. The rains during this period, which are required for the rabi crops, are so much 
esteemed that each drop of them is said to be worth a drop of ghi. People store the /KT/Zj/o-fiTrs/iiiii or the 
rain water of Hasta in reservoirs for drinking purposes, believing it to be very pure and digestive. — K. D. Desai. 

t Among the Hindus it is customary for those whose children do not live to keep their children uashaved 
for a certain number of years, after which the children are taken to a holy place and shaved there for the first 
time. The temple of Ranchhodji at Dakor is a favourite place for such ceremonies. — K. D. Desai. 

I The seven nether worlds are Atul, Vital, Sutal, Talatal, Mahatal, Rasutal.and Patal. 

§ In an ocean, as son-e sa\ — D. K. Pandy.-i, Dhhank. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



3o 



his posture in slfcp/ or is tlu- result of .i 
liair falling from t lit- body of Shesha.'- Som.- 
people say tliat ordinarily Sliesha docs not 
feel the weight of the fourteen' worlds on his 
head ; he bears the load as if it were only 
a single sesiiraum seed. But when too much 
sin accumulates in any of the regions, the 
burden becomes unbearable for him : he 
begins to shake under it, and an earthquake 
occurs.* 

Some believe that there is a tortoise under 
the divine cobra who supports the world ;^ 
others go further, and add a frog below the 
tortoise:' and it is said that the slightest 
motion on the part of either the tortoise or 
the eobra is the cause of an earthquake. 

Another belief is that eartluiuakes occur 
whenever there is tyranny or injustice on the 
part of a king, or whenever innnorality 
spreads in society, because the earth is 
unable to bear the sin, and trembles at the 
sight of it.*^ 

According to a dirtrrent opinion, the 
earth is supported by the Polhia or the 
favourite bull of Shiva on one of his horns. 
An earthquake is laused whenever he trans- 
fers till' earth from one horn to another in 
order to relieve the former from the constant 
pressure of the burden." 

There is also a belief that deities of some 
strange species reside in the netlier regions, 
and the earth is shaken whenever these be- 
ings fight among themselves." 

According to the \"araha-sanliita, an earth- 
quake is always the precursor of some 
unprecedented calamitv."* The prevalent 
belief in the popular mind seems to be that 
an earthquake is the result of immorality 
and sin, and further that it forebodes some 
dire calamity, such as famine, pestilence, an 



outbreak of fire, r. revolution, or a great 
war.'-' The phenomenon is, therefore, re- 
garded with great fear ; and when it occurs, 
people endeavour to avoid the contingent 
evils by such meritorious acts as the giving 
of alms, and generally by leading a virtuous 
life." 

The most popular of tlie holy rivers are 
the Ganges, the Jumna (or Janiuna), the 
Narbada, the Saraswati (near Sidbpur), the 
Kaveri. the Godavari, the Gandnki, the 
Sarayu, the Damodari, the Sindhu (or Indus), 
the Mahanad, the (Jomati (near Dwarka), 
the Brahmaputra, the Sabarmati. the GJiels 
(near Gaddheda), the Tungabhadra, the 
Suvarnabhadra, the Bhadrashita, the Jambu- 
vati, the Phalaku (or Phalgu), the Kaushiki. 
the Tamraparni, the Sita and the Alaka- 
nanda. Any point where three rivers meet is 
also a sacred place. Most of the holy rivers 
are tlu' subject of many traditions, and 
books have been written to celebrate their 
merits. 

The Ganges, the Jumna, and the (iodavari 
are said to be the holiest of all rivers.'* 
There are a number of beliefs about the 
origin of the Ganges. One of them is that 
the Ganges is the stream caused by King- 
Bali washing the feet of Vaman (the Dwarf 
incarnation of Vishnu). ^i^ Another storv 
relates that the god Brahma was exhausted 
by overwork at the time of the marriage of 
Shiva and Parvati. The gods, therefore, 
created water from their own lustres, and gave 
it to Brahma in a gourd, to be used in a 
similar contingency. When Vislinu in his 
Viiman avatar{or Dwarf incarnation) bestrode 
the heavens with a single step, Brahma wash- 
ed his toe in the water from this gourd. A 
stream was thus created called Swarga-ganga 



' Mr. Jethalal Devji. Bantwa. 2 Mr. G. K. Blmtt, Songadh. 
» Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank.and Mr. M. M. Rana, Rajkot. 

« The Deputy Educational Inspector of Gobelwad. = Mr. Jairam Vasaram, Jodia. 
« Mr. K. F. Josi, Limbdi. and Mr. Raju Ramjee Kanjee Pathak, Girls' School, Gondal. 
' Mr. J. K. Upaddhyaya. Patanvao, 

« Mr. Raju Ramjee Kanjee Pathak, Gondal. ' Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 

>» Mr. K. D. Desai. " Mr, M. M. Rana Rajkot. 



36 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



and brought down to the <;irtl] by Bliagir.ill], 
the grandson ol' !s;ig;ir. When tlie Ganges 
IVII from till- luavons, it was supported and 
held fast by (rod Shixa in liis ./"/" or uialtid 
hair. It was ri b'asi-d by his loosening the 
hair, and in its course, inundated the sacri- 
ficial ground of King Jahnu. TJie hitter, 
being angry, drank up its waters. On the 
entreaties of Bliaglratli, he released the 
stream by tearing ort' his thigli." The river 
then flowed to the spot where the sixty 
thousand sons of Sagar were burnt to ashes ; 
and it is said by some that one of the 
sixty thousand was saved at the end of 
each year up to the year 1955 of the Saiuvat 
era (corresponding to \. i>. 189')), by the 
end of which period all the sixtj* thousand 
had attained salvation. From the earth 
the Ganges went to tiu> nether regions. 
Thus flowing in the heavens, on the earth 
and in the Fatal, the (ianges is called 
Tripatiiaga ('. >'., flowing in three courses). 
In its divine form, the Ganges is the 
wife of Shiva. Owing to the eurse of 
Brahma, she was born in human form in this 
world and was married to Shantanu, by 
whom she became the mother of Bhishma, 
the heroic unelr of the Kauravas and the 
Pandavas, ' 

It is custou'.ary among Hindu })ilgrims, 
when tluv visit Kaslii (Benares) to take with 
till ni copper-vessels fillrd with Gangdjal 
(water of the Ganges), and to worship the 
Ganga when they rcacii their homes after 
the pilgrimage. A figure is drawn in se\en 
ditt'erent kinds of corn ; the bowl is (ilaced | 
on it ; iihit guliil (red powder), frankincense, 1 
and iiuii'cdijn (an oblation ol' I'ood) are 
oft'ered : a glii lamp is lighted : a Brahman 



woman is dressed .as Uma, the wife of 
Shiva, and Brahmans are entertained 
at a feast, ihthsh'inii being given to 
theiu.- 

The water of the (ianges, as well as that 
of the ,lunma, is i)elieved to be so pure that it 
cannot be att'ected by microbes, even if kept 
for years in the house. This quality is 
beli(\((I to be a manifestation of its divine 
nature. It is further called patlt-pitvan (lit. 
purifier of the fallen), and exculpates the 
sinful from their sins, eitlier by a single 
(Iraught or by bathing in it." Gangiijal is 
kepi in most Hindu families, a draught of it 
taken by a dying person being believed to 
secure mokulut or .ternal salvation for the 
soul. ' 

A vow is observed by women, in honour of 
the Ganges, for the first ten days of the 
month of Jyeshtlia. On these days they 
rise early in the morning and bathe in the 
holy waters of the (ranges.^ 

.Sometimes glii lamps .-ire placed upon the 
waters of the Ganges or the Jumna, and 
vessels of metal, pice, and cocoanuts are 
cast into the stream. At such a time, when 
many jjcople arc standing on the banks 
offering praA'ers with folded h.inds, or 
eng;iged in the aniti. I the river presents a 
very picturesque scene, the numerous lights 
being reflected in the water.'' 

The Jainuna or Yamuna is the daughter 
of the Sun, and the sister of Yama, the god 
of Death. The banks of the Jumna are 
w"ell known as the scene of the amorous 
sports of God Krishna.^ The story of the 
defeat of the demon Kaliya N.ag who was 
ejected from the .Tunnia by Krisllna is wclJ- 
known. 



' Mr. M. M. Kana, Rajkot. 

= Mr. D. K I'andya. Olihank. 

■' The Schoolmaster of Upleta. 

' Mr. N, M. Dave, Sanka. 

* The river is, therefore, regarded as his daughter, and is called Jalmavi 

f The waving of lights to ant", fro before an object of worship. 



- The Schoolmaster of Lilapur. 
' The Schoolmaster of Kolki. 
' The Schoolmaster of Ivolki snd the Shasiri of Jetpur Pathashala. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



37 



It is said that those who have bathed in 
the Jumna or have once tasted its water, 
need not be afraid of Yama, the god of 
Death.^ It is considered meritorious among 
the Hindus to batlie the imago of god Shiva 
in water from the holy Jumna or the Ganges 
or tlie Godavari.- There is a popular s/t/o/i'a 
in honour of the Jumna which runs: — "Vic- 
tory to thee ! Oh Yamuna, flowing through 
tlie Madhu-vana (the Madhu woods), the 
bearer of shining waters, the companion of 
Jahnavi, the daughter of Sindliu, tlie orna- 
ment of the enemy of Madhu (i)is., Krishna), 
the appeaser of Madliava, the dispellcr of 
the danger of Gokal, the destroyer of the 
sins of the world, the giver of intellect, the 
scene of the amorous sports of Keshava. 
Victory to thee ! O remover of difficulties, 
purify me."" 

The banks of the Godavari are known as 
tlie site of the hermitage of Gautama. Wlien 
the planet Brihaspati (Jupiter) enters tlie 
Sinha-rashi (the constellation Leo)* the holy 
Ganges goes to the Godavari, and remains 
there for one year. During that year, all 
the gods are believed to bathe in tliis river. 
Thousands of pilgrims visit Nasik to offer 
prayers to the Godavari, and after bathing 
in the river, give alms to Brahmans. Simi- 
larly, on the Kapilashashti day, on which 
six jogs or conjunctive incidents occur simul- 
taneously, the virtue of all tirthas or holy 
places is believed to be concentrated in the 
Godavari at Nasik.^ 

The mere sight of the Narbada has the 
same effect as a bath in the Ganges or the 
Jumna, ^ It is said that the Narbada is the 



1 Mr. B. K. Dave, Schoolmaster Kotda-Sangani. 
3 Mr. D. K. Pandya, Schoolmaster Dhhank. 
= The Schoolmaster of Luvaria, 
' Mr K. D. Desai. 



image of Shiva, and that fragments of the 
stony bow of Shiva arc to be found in its 
bed.5 The stones in tlie bed of this river 
have the same sanctity as the images of god 
Shiva.i' Shdligram stones, whieli are wor- 
shipped as the images of Vishnu, are found 
in this river." It is an act of high merit 
among Hindus to take a pradakshina round 
the Narbada, i. e., to travel along the banks of 
the river, inhabited as the region is by many 
Sadhus and other lioly persons. ^ Ashvat- 
thama, the immortal son of Drona, is believ- 
ed to reside on the banks of this river and 
to pay occasional visits to the Bhils in the 
neighbourhood." The Shiihla.i'irtha, situat- 
ed on the Narbada, is visited by numerous 
pilgrims, and a fair is held there on every 
sixtieth year.'' 

The sage Kapila instructed his mother 
Devahuti with divine knowledge on the 
banks of the Saraswati. Since then, the 
river is held sacred and funeral ceremonies — • 
Shruddhas — are performed on its banks in 
honour of departed female ancestors.' 
Similarly Shraddhas in honour of male 
ancestors are performed at the confluence of 
the Ganges, the Jumnii, and the Saraswati at 
Allahabad t s 

Of the Gandaki it is said that it contains 
as many shankars (images of Shiva) as there 
are sankars (stones). The shaligram stone 
is found in this river also. The Saryu is 
sacred as the scene of the childish sports of 
Ramachandra, the hero of the Ramdyana. 
On the banks of the Phalaku or Phalgu, 
Ramachandra performed ■Shraddha ceremo- 
nies in honour of his father Dasharath.^ 



' The Schoolmaster of Dadvi. 
* The Schoolmaster of Upleta. 
« Mr. L. D. Mehta, Mota Devalia. 
' The Schoolmaster of Jodia. 



* This happens every twelfth year. The year of Sinhastha i. e. the year when Brihaspati stands in tha 
Sinha-rashi, is the only one in which marriages among the Kadva Kunbis take place ; and for this reason the 
smallest children in the community, sometimes even those who are in the womb, are married in this year.-« 
Mr. M» M. Rana, Rajkot. 

t The Saraswati is believed to be present, but ininsible at this spot. 

4 



38 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



A balli ill the waters of a holy river 
washes away the sins of the bather.^ It is 
also meritorious to repeat the names of the 
several holy rivers.- The performance of 
Shraddka eeremonies on the banks of a holy 
river secures the felicity of deceased ances- 
tors in heaven. 1 At the time of perform- 
ing Shmddhas at a holy i)lace, Hindus shave 
their moustaches, batlio in the sacred waters, 
and then go through the necessary cere- 
monies, in the course of which pindas are 
offered to the Pilars (spirits of dead ances- 
tors). Brahinans are feasted after the cere- 
monies, and dalishind is given to them." 
Tarpan or an offering of water with flowers, 
ointment, red lac, cocoanuts, and betel, is 
frequently made to the river on the banks of 
which the ceremonies are performed.'* 
The bones of a deceased person, left unburnt 
after cremation of the body, are gathered 
together and thrown into holy rivers such as 
the Ganges, the Jumna, and the Godavari, 
for the purification of his soul.^ 

When heavy floods threaten a village or a 
city with serious injury, the king or the 
headman should go in procession to propitiate 
the river with flowers, cocoanuts, and other 
offerings in order that the floods may sub- 
side.'' A story is related of the occuri'ence 
of heavy floods in a village in the Jatalpur 
taluka, when a certain lady placed an 
earthen vessel (ordinarily used for curdling 
milk), containing a gbi lamp, afloat on the 
floods, whereupon the waters were at once 
seen to recede.''^ 

Besides the holy rivers, there are numerous 
hunds or sacred pools which are regarded 
with equal reverence, and in which a bath 
has the same eflicacy for destroying sin. 
Similarly, they are equally suitable places 
for the performance of <S'/jrfl(irf/i a ceremonies. 



These kunds are the subject of numerous 
beliefs, and each of them has a certain 
mahdlmya or peculiar merit of its own. Six 
miles to tho east of Dwarka, near the sea- 
coast, there is a kund called Pind-tarak, 
where many persons go to perform the 
Shruddha and the Nfirayan-bali ciremonies. 
They first batlie in tlie kund ; IIk n, witli its 
water, they prepare pindas, and place them 
in a metal dish: red lac is applied to the 
jnndas, and a piece of cotton thread wound 
round them ; the metal dish being then dip- 
ped in the /iwnrf, when the pindas, instead of 
sinking, are said to remain floating on the 
water. Tlie process is believed to earn a 
good status for the spirits of departed 
ancestors in heaven.^ It is furtlier said tliat 
physical ailments brought on by the (ivugali — 
degradation or fallen condition — of ances- 
tors in the other world, are remedied bj' the 
performance of Shraddha on this kund.^ 

The Damodar kund is situated near 
Junagadh. It is said that if tlie bones of a 
deceased person which remain iiiiburnt after 
his cremation are dipped in this kund, the 
soul of that person obtains nioksha (or final 
emancipation),^ 

There is a vdv or reservoir on Mount 
Girnar, known as Rasakupika-vav. It is 
believed that the body of a person bathing in 
it becomes a& hard as marble, and that if a 
piece of stone or iron is dipped in the vav^ 
it is instantly transformed into gold. But 
the vav is only visible to saints and sages 
who are gifted with a supernatural vision.' 

Kashlpuri (Benares) contains a vdv called 
Gyan-vav, in which there is an image of 
Vishweshwar (the Lord of the universe, i.e., 
Shiva). A bath in the water from this vau 
is believed to confer upon a person the gift 
of divine knowledge.^ 



' Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 

' The Schoolmasters of Dhhank, Vanod, and Kolki. 

' The Schoolmaster of Dadvi. 

' Mr. K. D. Desai. 



» Mr. D. K. Shah, Charadwah. 

• Mr, M, R. Raval. 

6 The Schoolmaster of Limbdi Taluka. 

• Mr. Jairam Vasaram, Jodia. 



* Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank, and the Headmistress of Gondal Girls' School. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



39 



In the village of Chunval, a few miles to 
the north of V^iranigfiiii, tht-re is a kititd 
known as Loteshwar, near which stands a 
pipal tree. Persons possessed hv ghosts or 
devils, are freed from possessioii hy |>oiiriiig 
water at tlio foot of the tree and taking 
turns round it, remaining silent the wliilc.* 

A hath in the Man-sarovar near Haliu- 
cliaraji i-. said to cause the wislus of Uie 
bather to be fulfilled Tiiere is a local 
tradition* that a Kajput woman was turned 
into a male Rajput of the Solanki class by a 
bath in its waters.'^ 

Tiierc is a l,uiid called Zilaka nearZin/.u- 
wada with a temple of Naleshwar Mahadev 
near it. The liiiid is said to have been built 
at the lime of King Xala. It is believed 
locally that every year, on tlu- 15th day of 
the briglit half of Bhi'ididpad, tin- holy 
•Ganges visits the Liiiul i)y an uiiil! rgrouiul 
route. A great fair is held there on that 
■ day, when people bathe in the kund and give 
alms to the ])Oor.- There is also another 
hit lid close by, known as HIioIa\a, win re tin 
river Saraswati is believed to have halted and 
manifested herself on her way to the sea.-' 

There is a hiiiiil in B iladaiia near ^\^■l(lh- 
wan, dedicated to IIol, the favourite maid 
of the Clu'irans. In this lund^ black or red 
gagar hedinus — pieces of cotton thread — are 
sometimes seen floating in the water. Tluy 
appear only for a moment, and sink if any 
<>ne endeavours to seize them. The appear- 
ance of black pieces forebodes famine: but 
the red ones foretell prosperity.^ 

In Bliadakon near Chuda there is a hiiiid ' 
•called Garigavo. The place is celebrated as 
the spot of the hermitage of the sage Bhrigu 
and a fair is held there annually on the last 
day of Bhddrapad,* 



Persons anxious to attain heaven, bathe in 
the Mrigi hiind on Mount Girnar; and a batii 
in the Revati fniii</, whieh is in the same 
place, confers male issue on the bather.'"' 
There is also a l.iutd of the shape of an 
I elephant's footprint Piigaheiii on Mount 
Girnar. It never empties and is li.ld most 
sacred by pilgrims.'^ People bathe in the 
Gomati /.-H/if/ near Dwrirka and take .-i little 
of the earth from its bed, for the [)urifica- 
' tion of their souls. ^ In the \illage of 
Babara, Babhruvahan, the son of -Vrjun, is 
said to lia\c eoustrueted several l.iiiids, nU of 
whieh are believid to be holy.'' 

The Lasundra hiind luar Lasundra in the 
I Kaira Distrie'l"* and the Tulsi-shyama htiiid 
on Mount Girnar'J contain hot waters. 
There is also .-i hot Iniiid called Dcvlii-iiiiai, 
about thirty miles to the south of Surat."* 
There the wat-.-rs remain hoi throughout 
tlu- whole of the year, ixcept on the 
fifteenth day of the i)right lulf of Cliiiit ni. 
On this (lay, the waters cool, and ptopl,' 
can bailie in the Litiid Many pilgrims \isit 
the jilace on this oceasion, to offer money, 
coeoanuts, and red lac lo the idiiiI miitd^ 
whose temple stands near the /.inid. It is 
said that King Rama built this hiind while 
performing a local saeiifiee, and brought 
water u|) from the patfil ( nether regions ) 
by shooting an arrow into the earlli.^'' 

Other holy Icuiids are: the Bhiui /.««</, ibc 
Gonuikhi-ganga, and the Kamandalu Lund 
on Mount Girnrir near the tem])le of Bhim- 
iirah Mahadeo; the Radha Itind ^ Ijic Lalita 
hund^ and tfie Krishna-sarovar in Dwiirka ; 
the Rama sarovar, the Sita Icuiid and the 
Devki-unai hund in Ayodhya (Oudli): i' and 
the Suraj hund^- and the Hanumandhara^^ 
kund on Mount Girnar. 



^ The Sclioolmaster of Kolki. 

•■' Mr. :M. S. Shah, Zinziiwfidri. 

' The Shastri of Jetpur Fathashala. 

' The Schoolmaster of Khirasar.i. 

' Mr. Jairam Vasaram, Jodia. 
" Mr. N. D. Vera, Rajpara. 
i-'' The Schoolmaster of Gondal Taliika. 



- Mr. M. H. Raval, Vanod. 
' Mr. N. M. Dave, SfinkS. 
'■ Mr. L. D. Metha, Mota Devalia. 
' The Schoolmaster of I.ewaria. 
"J Mr. K. D. Desai. 
'"' The Schoolmaster of Moti Murad. 
* See P. 42. 



40 



THE lULKLOliE OF GUJARAT 



\\'aterralls arc not \<ry I'.iiniliar to tlit- 
piopk- of Ciujaral, Tlnri is a Ixlif f, liow- 
t\<r, that hamii foiJi)l<s <)l)lain issiu- it tlicy 
liatlii- in a watt-rfail, and ()H"cr a cocoanut.' 

II a rivt r soui-fc i.ssiK s from an opening, 
in tiie sliapc of a go-mid,- li (i-ow's-nioutli), 
the stream is ealled dhodJi, and is consider- 
.ed as sacred as tli<- lioly Ganges. A batli 
in siieli a ilhodli lias tlic same <fficaey for 
absolving persons from tlu-ir sins.- 

A^'lu■n a person dii s an accidental dc alh 
and bit'or<- tlic fiiltilnicnt of liis worldly 
desires, his soul receives uvaiiuti {i.e., passes 
into a degraded or fallen condition), and it 
is not released from this state till Slndddhas 
liavo been duly performed in its name, and 
the obi( cts of its desire dedicated to it with 
proper ritual. Tiie same fate befalls those 
souls which do not receive the funeral p'indas 
with the proper obsequies. Such fallen souls 
become gli )sts and goblins,'' and are to be 
f<»ind where water is, i. e., near a well, a 
tank, or a river." 

Tiiose who meet death by drowning become 
goblins, residing near the scene of their 
death, and are a source of danger to all who 
al)proach the water; for instance, in jMonapuri 
and Sasai, there are two gJninas (mysterious 
watery pits) haunted by bhiiis (ghosts) 
which take the lives of one or two buffaloes 
every year.' Malils t and Slianlchiiiis also 
haunt wells, springs, and tanks aiul either 
drown, or enter the persons of those who go 
near their resorts. 



' Persons who are possissed in this n.anner, 
can lie freed by hliuvas,^ wlio give tlum a 
magic thread to wear.'' 

There is a vtir called yUliantli viir near 
Movaiya, in which .i I'injari (a female cotton- 
carder ) is said to have been drowned, and 
to have been turned into a ghost, in which 
form slie oeeasi(uially presents lierself to tin 
people," 

Another ghost haunts an old iiTc, called 
-Madlia, in \'adhwrin and drowns one human 
being every third year as a victim. But a 
mall' s])irit named Kshctiapal resides in tlif 
kothn ( or entrance ) of the viiv, and saves- 
those who fall near the entrance. A person 
is, however, sure to be drowned if he falls in 
anv oilier part of the vdv.' A ghost also- 

' resides in the v(iv at Hampar near Dliranga- 

! dhra and terrifies the people at times." 

The goddess Rainadevi resides in water,^ 
and is worshipped by virgins on the fifteentli 
day of the bright half of Ashadh^ win n they 

I grow javaras (tender wheat-plants) in an 
earthen vessel and present them to her, 
remaining awake for the whole of the night 
to sing songs in her honour. - 

Darya-Pir, the patron of lananas (uk r- 
chants) and Kharvas (sailors), resides in tlie 
sea ; and vows are observed in his honour by 
these people on the second day of the bright 
half of every month, when tJity pass a little 
water through his sieve-" 



1 Tlie Sliastri of Jelpur Pathasbala. " Mr. K. D. Desai. 

•' D. K. Pandya, Dhhank: the Shastri of Jetpur ratliashala and the Schoolmaster of Limbdi Taluka. 

* Mr. L. IX Mehta, Mota Devalia. 

■■• The Schoolmaster of Limbdi Taluka and the Shastii of Jetpur Fathashala. 

■= The Schoolmaster of Movaiya. _ ' >«'. IM- Dave, STinkS. 

' The Schoolmaster of Kolki. 

* There are several stecies of lliiifs and /»'(7; — ghcsis r.nd gobhr: — thuf, for instance, Julcicliar, i. e.,. 
those wlio hve in water : Agnichar,]. e., those found in fire; Ebtichar, i. e., those hovering on the eartli : 
Gagaiiacliiir, i. e., these moving in ethereal regicns, Riom/shycuhar, i. e., those moving among men ; 
h'hagttchar or those moving amcng bircs, s.zd Pr.il.uchar. \. e., tl cse living among beasts. N. D. Vera, 
K^jparr. 

t ViJe page 1. 



THE. FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



41 



It is Moll known that a drmrning p< rson 
•clings fast to Jinyone who tries to save him, 
and endangers the lives of both himself and 
his saviour.' It is also believed bv some 
people that the messengers of \'arum (the 
lord of all waters) seize those persons who 
bathe in a river earlier than the usual hour in 
the morning ; and the act of saving a drowning 
person thus deprives Varuna of his victim, 
and brings down tlie wrath of that deity. - 

Sometimes, for the sake of mohsJia^ a 
person takes sawddhi (i. c., drowns liimself 
with a religious motive) in a holy river, such 
as the Ganges or the JuuinS. In such a case 
the relatives and other persons refrain from 
interference, and do not try to rescue the 
person.^ 

When a will is to be dug, an expert is first 
called to srleet a likely spot on which to dig. 
.\ Hrahraan is then consulted as to the 
auspicious hour on which the work of digging 
should be commenced." For tiiis purpose, 
Tuesdays and those days on wliieh the 
■ earth sleeps are to be avoided. The earth 
is su|)posed to be asleci) on the following 
six days in every month, namely: the 1st, the 
7th, the 9th, the 10th, the 14th and the 24th 
days following a sankranti (/. e., the day on 
which the sun crosses from one constellation 
to another). Excluding these days, a date 
is generally fixed on which' the Cliandra-graha 
(or the planet moon) is favourable to the 
constructor of tin; well.^ 

On the appointed day, the expert, the 
constructor of the well, the Brahinan priest, 
and the labourers go to the place where the 
well is to be dug, and an image of the god 
Ganpati — the protector of all auspicious 
ceremonies — is first installed on the spot and 
worshipped with pancliajnrif.^'' A green 
■coloured piece of atlas (silk cloth), about 



two feet long, is then spread on the spot, 
and a pound and a (piarter of wheat, a 
coeoanut, betels, d.;tes and copper coin are 
placed on it. A copper bowl containing some 
silver or gold coins and filled with water, is 
also i)laced there ; the mouth of the bowl is 
covered with the leaves of the .\shoka tree 
(Jliiesid Asoka) and a coeoanut is placed 
over the leaves. After this, the priest recites 
sacred hymns and asks his host to perform 
the L-liati ceremonies.'- Among favourite 
offerings to Ganpati and the earth in the 
course of worship and in the performance of 
the Itliiit ceremonies are : curds, milk, honey, 
molasses, cocoanuts, tlhaiid (a kind of spices), 
leaves of Hngaree/ ( a kind of creeper) and 
red lac." The expert who is called to choose 
a proper site for the well offers frank- 
incense and a coeoanut to the spot, and 
lights a lamp thereon. After the khfil ] 

ceremonies are over, the host distributes 
j 
1 sugar or molasses among the bystanders, and 

offers a sum of money to the expert, who 
usually refuses it, asking the host to spend 
it in charity. Those who accept money give 
away a jjart of it in alms to the (loor.'' 

Sometimes, to secure the unobstructed 
I completion of the work, the god Ganpati and 
the goddess Jaladevi are installed and wor- 
shipped dail_y, till water appears in the 
well.' Some people, however, install the 
goddess Jaladevi after the appearance of 
water, when a stone is taken out from the 
bottom of the well and is plastered with red 
lead to represent the goddess and is cere- 
moniously worshipped. When the construc- 
tion of the well is complete, vastu, i. e., the 
ceremony in vogue after the completion of a 
new building, or jalolsava (the water-festival) 
is celebrated, Brahmins being entertained 
at a feast, with dakshind given." 



' N. D. Vora, Rajpara. 

^ D. K. Pandya, Dhliank. 

■■' The Schoolmasters of Dhhank and PruanvSv. 

' The Shoolraasters of Ganod and Dadvi. 

* .\ mixture of milk, curds, ghi. honey and sugar. 

X Rich persons use silver or golden spades and lioes 



- The Schoolmasters of Vanod and Kolki. 

* H. M. Bhatt, Ganod. 

s The Schoolmaster of Dadvi. 

t Vide page 29, 
\'i\^en turnmg up the first clod of earth. 



42 



THE rOLKLORE OF GCJ.IRAT 



Tile water of tlic' Knik.ilas well in the 
island ol' Siiaiikliochvar is brlicvcd t.o cure 
fever and diseases caused by inorliid lieat. 
Adraufllit of the water of the {iomuklii-ganga 
near Cnrnar, makes one proof against an 
attack of cholera." 

'I'lie w-ater of a :;o~n/r7 well (i. <"-, a well 
vrliieh is polluted on account of a person 
Ixiuf"- drowned in it) cures children of 
bronchitis and eougli.-'^ 

There is a well near Ranidorana, of which 
the water is effective against cough,-' and 
the water of the J5hauiaria well near 
X'asawad possesses the same \irtue.' 

The water of the Mrigi hand near 
Juuagadh remedies leprosy." 

Till' I'ipli well near Zalawrul and the 
Detroja-vav near Kolki are well-known for 
the stimulative effect of their watefs on the 
digestion." 

If a dark stone is found in the course of 
digging a well, the water of that well is 
believed to have medicinal properties.'' 

The birth of a child under the mtil nnh. 
shatra endangers the life of its father: but 
the misfortune is averted if tlie child and its 
parents bathe in water drawn from one 
hundred and eight wells. ^ Such water, 
if swallowed, is said to cure sanipdt or 
delirium." 

In the island of Shial llicre is a vnv called 
Than-i'"r, where mothers, who cannot suckle 
their childrc n for want of milk, wash their 
bodices, ^^'llen they afterwards wear these 
bodices, these are believed to be able to cause 
the due secretion of milk.** 

The most famous of tlie sacred lakes are 
Pampat, BinduJ, Pushkar and Sjimbhar 
near Aj mere, Man-sarovar near Bahucharaji, 



Naray.'in-sarovar in C'utch, Ravanrliad in the 
Himalayas, ;ind Hrimarhad. The following" 
))opnlir myth is related about Man-sarovar. 

Two kings once agreed that the lwf> 
children that should first be born to them, 
should marry each other. Hut it hap- 
penid that both the kings had daughters.. 
One of them, however, conce.iled the fact, and 
gave out that the child born to him was a 
son. So that when the ehildren attained a 
marriagable age, they were married to each 
other according to the agreement. 

But the wife found out the secret when 
she went to stay with her supposed Imsband,. 
and disclosed it to her parents, who invited' 
the counterfeit son-in-law to their house with 
the object of ascertaining the truth. The 
alleged son, however, suspected the design 
and fled, with a mare and a bitch. On 
.-irriving near Man-sarovar. the animals went 
into the lake in order to refresli themselves, 
when there was an immediate transformation p 
and the bitch and the mare came out a horse 
and a dog. On observing this miracle, their 
mistress followed their cxamph and was also' 
turned into a male. The story is still 
sung by girls in a garahi (song) during 
the Kavardtra holidays." 

There is a belief that the ancient golden 
city of Dwarka, the capital of god 
Krishna, still exists in the sea, although it is 
invisible to the eyes of mortals. '■ A storv 
is told of a man named Pipo Jihagat, who^ 
once perceiving a golden bowl floating in the 
sea. plunged into the water and saw the 
golden palaces of Dwarka and god Krishna 
resting therein. It is said that lie returned 
with tl;e tide and related his experience to- 
several people.'^^^ 



' B. K. Dave, Kolda, Sangani. 
' The Sclioolmaster of I'pleta. 
■' Tlie Schoolmaster ol Kolki. 
' Tlie Schoolmaster of Ffitanvfiv. 
" Jairam Vasaram, Joilia. 



^ The schoolmasters of Limbdi and Chhatrasa. 

♦ The schoolmaster of Mota Devalia. 

D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 

s G. K. Bhatt, Songadh. 

'0 The Shastri of Jetpur, Pathashala. 



* It is a common practice to hrinu' a small circular piece of an earthen vessel from tlie neiglibourliood of 
<ncli a well and to hang it by a piece cf string round the neck of a child to cure it of hadaklii-ndharas or 
strong cough. — K. D. Desai. 

t Pampa is described in tlie RiiitiTiyatia as being situated in the Dandaka forest, i. c, in the Deccan. 
end Eecms to be the modern Hampi In Bellary district. 

J Perhaps the one in Si'lbtipur — K. T. G. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



43 



Similarly, tlu- golden Lanka of Ravan is 
slill believed to exist under the sea, ruled 
over by Bibhishan, the brother of Riivan, and 
visible only to the eyes of saints and holy 
persons.^ It is a common belief that the 
nether regions are inhabited by a species 
of seuii-divine beings, half men and half 
serpents, called Nags, who 2)ossess magnifi- 
cent palaces under the water.- The story 
of Krdiya NTig, who resided at the bottom of 
the .(innn;i and was driven from that place 
by Krishna, is well known. -• There are a 
number of mythological traditions in tlie 
Pinfnias of kings and princes having visited 
tiRsr palaces in watery regions, and of their 
lia\ ing brought back beautiful Xagakanyas 
(daughters of Nags) therefrom.'' For 
instance, Arjuna married a Xagakani/a 
named Ulupi when he was living in exile 
witii his brothers, He also stayed for some 
time with the Nags. 

Ghosts and demons sometimes inhabit 
palaces under the water. Deep waters, 
unfrequented by men, are the favourite 
resorts of such beings. ■" 

The god Varuna resides in the waters, 
and is said to have once carried oft" Nand 
(the adoptive father of Krishna) to his 
watery aboJe, for having bathed in the 
Jumr.a before dawn.-" 

Kalindi, the daughter of the king of the 
Kalingas, practised religious austerities in a 
palace under the waters of the Jumnii with 
the object of securing a suitable husband. 
Krishna, on being informed of this by 
Arjuna, went to the place and married her.'^ 

There is a story in the Purdnas that a 
king, named Nandriij, used to burj' his 
treasures in the sea with the assistance of a 
mani (jewel) which furnished a safe passage 
through the water. The mani was in the 



' The Schoolmasters of Dadvi and Kolki. 
3 H. M. Bhatt, Ganod. 
" Jairam Vasaram, Jodia. 
' N. M. Dave. Sinki; 



end burnt by the queen of Nandraj and the 
treasure still lies hidden iu tlie waters of the 
sea.^ 

It is narrated in the fourtli chapter of 
Bhagvai-pitran that the ten thousand sons 
of Praehetas used to reside in palaces built 
under water.** 

Mountains are held to be sacred in a 
variety of circumstances ; thus, some are 
valued for possessing medicinal drugs : some 
are revered as the birthplaces of the gods, 
or as the residences of saints : some for pos- 
sessing many i'lrthas (holy spots) : some be- 
cause they were visited by Rama or the 
Pandavas : some serve as guardians- of the 
four quarters : and some contain the sources 
of holy rivers. 

Both the important ranges of the Presi- 
dency, the Sahyadri and the Satpuda, are 
subjects of veneration in the popular mind. 
The Himalayas, the Vindliya ^lountains, and 
the Nilgiris command special respect. Otlier 
sacred mountains are GirnSr and Shetrunja 
in Kiithi.lwar, Mount Abu, Pavagad near 
Baroda, Brahmagiri Arasur, Tryambak near 
Nasik, Koyalo, Govardhau near ]\Iatluira, 
Revatachal near Dwi'irka, and Hinglaj in 
Sind. 

It is said that in ancient times there 
were deep miry ditches where Girnar and 
Abu stand at present. One day a cow- 
belonging to the sage Vasishtha fell into 
one of them and was found by Kacha, 
the son of Brihaspati, after a long search. 
When the incident was brought to the 
notice of A'asishtha, he requested Meru (a 
mythical mountain) to send his two sons 
Girnar and Abu to occupy and fill the 
ditches. ' Girnar required sixtj'-eight I'lrthas 
to accompany him ; and the boon was granted 
bv the gods.* 



- D. K. Pand.Ta, Dhhank. 

* The Schoolmaster ofKolki. 

" The Schoolmaster of Khirasara. 

" The Deputy Educational Inspector of Hril'ir. 



° The Schoolmasters of Dhhank, Moti Parabadi, and I.iivaria. 



.44 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJAUAT 



Ciirniir is one of the seven great mountains 
«liic'li once possessed wings.'* It is .'lUo 
known .is tin- pl.uT wlicri- llic siige Datta- 
Iraya pcrl'ornicd religious ansti ritics.- Tlu- 
place is so lioly tliat any person dying with- 
in a radius of twelve gaus^ from it is believed 
to attain ntokshci,''- A visit to the temples on 
Girnar absolves one from all sins; and taking 
a turn round (iirnar and Slietriinja is said 
to biing good fortune/ Hliagwan manifests 
himself to those who ascend tlie Bhaira- 
vajaya summit on Girnar. There is a rock 
on this mountain of which it is said that 
those who cast themselves from it direelly 
jitlain heaven.''' 

Pavagad is known for the teuijile of 
Mahakali Mata. It is said that King Patai 
■once propitiated her by austerities, and on 
being desired to demand a boon, asked the 
goddess to accompany him to his palace. 
The goddess was highly incensed at this re- 
quest, and promptly destroyed him."' 

Ilanfiman, the monkey-god, once promised 
to take the Mountain (iovardhan to meet 
Rama. It is well known liow tile monkey- 
allies of Rama constructed a bridge of rocks 
across the sea to Lanka, and how Hanunian 
supplied the requisite material by fetching 
huge mountains. Whilst engaged on this 
■work, he was one day carrying the Govar- 
dlian mountain to the site of the bridge, 
when Rama issued an ordcrth.it all monkeys 
who were fetching mountains siiould dejiosit 
their br.rdens at the spot where they stood 
at the moment of tiie order. Hanunian 



could not disobey the order of his lord, and 
l.e had .-iceordingly to drii]i the (iovardhan 
mount.iiu iie.ir .M;itiiiir."i. In order to fulfil 
HanCiman's promise, however, A'ishnu held 
the mountain over his head for seven days, 
at the time of his Krishna incarnation.' 

It is s.iid that the inll.■lbit.lut^ of the dis- 
tricts round (io\;irdiian fornu rly revered and 
adored Indra. Hut Krishna condemned this 
custom, and introduced the worship of 
Govardhan. Indra was exasperated at this 
conduct, and poured Ireniendous rains on 
Gok.il in order to drown Krishna and his 
followers. 15ut Krisjin.i held ii]) the Gov.ir- 
dhan mounl.iin on his little finger and 
sheltered all his pcojile under its cover. 
Tlu mountain was sujiported in this manner 
for se\ en d.iys, by tile i nd of which the 
rains subsided .ind Indra confessed himself 
vanquished- F.ven now \'aishn.i\as form 
an image of (iovardhan out of mud and 
worship it on the ■Janinashiam'i day ('.e., 
the eighth day of the ilark half of 
Shravan).^ 

The Oshnma Hill ne.ir Pat.iiu av (in the 
jurisdiction of Gondal) is noted for the 
beautiful temples of Tapakesliwar Mahadcv, 
and Matari Mata. It is said that BhimaJ 
the second of tiie five l'."uida\ .is, first met 
the giantess Hidimb.a, on this iiill.^ The 
charcoal-like stones which .-ire dug out in 
numbers from this hill are believed bv the 
people to have been blackened by tlie blood of 
the giant Hidinib, the brother of Hidimbfi 
who was killed bv Bliima.^ 



- Tlie Schoolmaster of Lilapur. 
* Tlie Schoolmaster of Kolki. 



' Th? Schoolmaster of Chhatrasa. 

■'■ The Shastri of Jetpur, Pathashala. 

' The Schoolmaster of Lilapur. 

The Schoolmasters of Kotda-Sangani, Vanod, and Luvaria. 

' The Schoolmaster of Ganod. s xhe Schoolmaster of Piltanvriv. 

• All miuntains once possessed wings and caused mucli havoc when they flew about^ So India clipped 
their wings with his thunderbolt and they are lying motionless since.— K. D. Dcsai. 

t Three-fourths of a rt«i/-one mile. 

t After the conflagration of Lakshabhuvan. the Prmdavas escaped to the Ilidiml-a forest. There one day, 
in his excursions, Bhinia came across the giantess Hidimba sitting on a see-saw. On her offering to marry him 
if he succeeded in swinging her see-saw, he is said to have swung it so liigli in the skies that she could even see 
the stars during daytime. — K. D. Desai. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



45 



Mount Shetrunja (or Shatruiijay<a) pos- 
sesses numerous Jain shrines and attracts 
thousands of pilgrims every year. The 
hearts ot' all pilgrims are believed to be 
purified from the moment tliey come within 
six miles of the mountain/ 

Mount Abu possesses the temple of Amba 
Mata where Krishna's hair was clipped for 
the first time.- Tryambak is known for the 
temple of Tryambakeshwar and the source 
of the holy Godavari.'^ About Rcvatachal, 
it is said that the mountain was golden in 
ancient times. ^ In the Vindhya Alountains 
is situated tlie famous temple of Omkar 
Mandhata.'' The hermitage of Kakbhushundi 
in the Xilgiris was visited by Rama when he 
listened to the religious stories read out by 
that sage. The sage Agatsya also is said to 
have resided in these mountains.'' 

The temple of Hinglaj stands on a hill, 
which is situated at a distance of eighteen 
daj-s' journey by road from Karachi. The 
-Mala is ministered to by a ^lusalman and 
the place is mostly visited by Atits^ BSvds, 
KliatriSj Chkipfis, Mocltis, and other low- 
caste Hindus. On occasions the doors of the 
temple spontaneously open, and after the 
devotees have visited the .V«,'.-;, they again 
shut in the same mj-sterious manner.'' 

As Ihe abode of Shiva and as containing 
the sources of tlie holiest of rivers, the Hima- 
layas are the most sacred of all mountains, 
and possess many holy places of pilgrimage, 
such as Badrinaravan, Kedarnath, Hardwar, 
etc. Badrinarayan is the favourite resort of 
those who liave relinquished the world and 
who only wish to meditate on the Divine 
Being. The sages Nara and Xarayan are 
said to have peformed religious austerities in 
this place, and cight_v-eight thousand rishis 
(sages) arc believed to be similarly occupied 



there to-day. Owing to the excessive cold,, 
the place is extremely difficult to reach. 
Pilgrims carry burning hearths with them 
to protect themselves against cold. Besides, 
it is necessary to cross Ihc Pathar-nadi (or 
stony river), of which the water, if touched, 
turns one into stone. The nutliod of cross- 
ing this river is to suspend silcans or slings 
above its water and to swing from one slings 
to another.^ 

A hill called Swargarohan is believed to be 
twenty miles to the nortli of Badrikedarnath 
and is said to lead to heaven. In ancient 
times the Pandavashad repaired to lliis place 
in order to do penance for the sin of having 
killed their kinsmen in the Great War. But 
when they tried to ascend to heaven by the 
Swargarohan Hill, only Yudhishthir and his 
faithful dog were able to reach their goal ; 
the rest were frozen in the snow.^ 

Mount Kailasa, the abode of Shiva, is sup- 
posed to be situated in tlie northern part of 
the Himiilayas. The mountain is described 
as always covered with verdure and full of" 
beautiful gardens and of palaces made of 
jewels, with roads paved with golden dust 
and spliatilca-mani (crystal stone). ^ It is 
said that Ravan, the king of Lanka, once 
uprooted this mountain and held it on thc- 
palm of his hand, in order to display his 
prowess. The demon Bhasmasur, who was 
enamoured of the goddess Parvati, is said to 
have performed the same feat in order to- 
frighten Shiva. ^ 

Another mythical mountain is Meru, which 
is supposed to occupy the centre of the 
earth.* The sun, the moon, and all the 
planets revolve round this mountain, and it 
therefore plays an important part in the 
causation of day and night. I'or night falls 
on one side of the earth when the sun goes 



' The Shastri of Jetpur Pathashala. 
^ The Schoolmaster of Ganod. 
' The Schoolmaster of Jodia. 
' M. M. Rana, Rajkot. 

• The earth is believed to be tlat like a dish and to 
the seven petals of a lotus. 



- The Schoolmaster of Lilapur. 

• R. B. Dave. 

• Tte Schoolmaster of Luvaria. 

consist of S3ven large islands, which am r.oiiiparcd to 



46 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



ti)tlic (itlicr .>i(if of Mii-ii; iiiui tlic dav begins | 
wlien the sun emerges from that side of the | 
innunlain. Mem is sixty eiglit tliousand 
i/ojans* ill iniglit, and penetrates the earth 
to the deptli of sixteen thousand yojans, j 
Its eastern side appears w-liite, tlie southern ( 
is yellou', tlie western is black, and the north- 
•ern red. The mountain is also believed to 
consist of goM and <;(ins. The CJanges, in 
licr fall from thi- hea\ens, is said to liave 
• desecnded first on the top of tliis mountain 
and then to ha\c Howed in four streams in 
four directions. Tlu; southern stream is 
known as the (ianges ; the northern, in 
Tartar}-, is called Hhadrasoma ; the eastern 
is the same as the Sita ; and the western is 
named C'liax or the Oxns. The top of this 
mountain is believed to be inhabited by gods, 
ga7i(lharr(is (celestial musicians) and rishis 
(sages).' According to the Yoga-vdsishtha, 
there is a kalpa-vrihshii^ on the Lalmani 
summit of Mcru, where a rishi named Bhu- 
shundkak is engaged in drvotional prayers 
since time immemorial.- The PurJinas 
■declare that Vaivaswat Manu, the first man, 
resided near Meru, and that his descendants 
migrated to Ayodliya to found there a 
kingdom whieli was afterwards ruled over by 
Rama. ' 

It is believed by some peo2)le that moun* 
tain-tops are inhabited by a class of recluses, 
called Agliori-bavas, who devour human 
beings." The Kalika hill near Girnar is 
believed to be frequented bj' Joganis (female 
harpies) who take the lives of visitors to the 
hill, and it is said that none who visits the 
l)laee is ever known to return.^ Persons 
who visit till' templf of Kalikamata on Mount 
Girnar always lose one of their j)arty, who 
falls a victim to the goddess."'' 



The changes in the s. asoiis arc attributed 
by some to Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesha 
(Shiva), tlie gods of the Hindu Trinity. 
Brahma sends down the rains and produces 
corn, grass, ite., \'ishnu jirotects and 
nourishes the harvests in winter, and Shiva 
causes the heat of the summer.'' There is 
also a belief that these three gods go down 
in turns to tlie pdt(il (nether regions) and 
stav there for four months. \'ishnu des- 
cends on the eleventh day of the bright half 
of Ashadli, .nul on that day the rainy season 
begins. When \'ishnu comes up and Shiva 
takes his i)laei', people experience the cold of 
winter : but as this god always keeps a 
dhuiii'^ burning near him, the wattrs under 
the surface of the earth, such as those in the 
wells, remain hot during this period. Such 
waters are cooled when Shiva returns and 
Brahma goes down to the patal : but the 
rtturii of Shiva causes smnmer on the 
earth.' 

According to auotlur belief, tli'- sequence 
of the seasons is controlled by the sun-god.* 
There are six lilus or seasons : and the 

I changes in the lilits depend upon the position 
of the sun in the twelve riishis or signs of 

j the Zodiac.'-' Each ritii lasts for a period of 
two months, during which time the sun travels 
through two riishix, Vasant-rliu is the period 

I which the sun takes to pass through the .1//« 
(Pisces) and -Vcs/irt i .\ries) rfishh. Orishma- 
lilu corresponds to the time during which 
the sun passes through Vrishahlia (Taurus) 

i and Mifhun (Gemini), During rarshd.ritit 
the sun moves through the signs KarJid 
(Cancer) and ■Sinlia (Leo), and during 
Sharad-ritn through Raiii/d (■\irgo) and 
Tula (Libra). Hemaiil-ritu is the time 
which the sun takes to tra«el through 



' M. M. Kana, Kajkot. 

= The Sclioolmaster of Limbdi. 

■• The Schoolmasters of Dhhank and Srmlifi. 

' The Schoolmaster of Mendarda. 

'■ The Shastri of Jetpur, 

1 A magic tree, supposed to f;rant all desires. 



- D. K. I'andya, Dhhank. 
' The Schoolmaster of Upleta. 
'■■ The Schoolmaster of Zinzuvvfidi. 
8 The Schoolmasters of Dhhank and Gondal Taluka. 
* One yq/'ini=eight miles. 
t rire used for the purposes of smoking. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



47 



Vnshchika (Scorpio) and Dhaiiu (Sagit- 
tarius). Shishir.ritu occurs when the sun 
stands in the Makar (Capricornus) and 
Kumbha (Aquarius) rrts/i/.s.' 

Indra (tlie god of rain), \'aruna (tiu" lord 
of all waters), Vayu (the god of wind), 
Agni (the god of fire), and the moon-god 
are also believed by some to have power over 
the seasons.- 

The belief is as old as the Vedas that 
demons sometimes obstruct the fall of rain, 
and confine the waters of the clouds. It is 
Indra who fights with them and breaks 
through their castles by means of his thunder- 
bolt, sending down showers of rain for the 
benefit of his worshij)pers. So, whenever 
there is an unusual drought, people still in- 



recited, and prayers are offered before a 
sacrificial fire. This ceremony, called Par- 
jant/a-ihdnti, is said to have been performed 
within recent years in Bombay, and to have 
been successful in bringing rain.* 

It is also said that rainfall can be caused 
by singing a song or a sacred hymn to the 
malar tune. There is a tradition that the 
well-known saint Narsinha ^lehta once sang 
this tune on the occasion of the celebration 
of the first pregnancy of his daughter, and 
the performance was immediately followed 
by a shower of rain. Rain, which is brought 
down in this manner, can be put a stop to by 
singing to a different tune.'' 

Low-caste women have recourse to the 
following expedient to bring rain. Five or 



yoke the aid of this god, and celebrate a j six of them place a quantity of muddy earth 



festival in his lionour, called Ujjaiii or 
Indramahotsava, Homas* are performed to 
propitiate the god, and Brahmins arc enter, 
tained at a feast. Sometimes the festival 
is celebrated outside the village, where 
people go in large parties to dine together. 
The usual dish on such an occasion is 
Megliladu or sweet balls of wheat-flour fried 
in ghi. 

Another favourite ceremony supposed to 
cause rain to fall is the submersion of the 
image of Shiva in water, by blocking up the 



hhal or passage in the Shiva-Unga by which Yama, the God of Death, directs his col- 



water poured over the image usually runs 
oft'.- This ceremony is known as Jala-jatra, 
RudrabMsheka ^ or the ceremony of pouring 
water in a constant stream over the image 
of Shiva for eleven consecutive days and 
nights, is sometimes performed with the same 
object.'' 

Sometimes the assistance of Shringhi rislti 
is invoked to bring about a fall of rain. 
The rishi is installed in water, mantras are 



on a wooden stool, which is c irried by one 
of tiiem. The lump of mud is covered with 
leaves of the Gidotan or Tiniotan creeper, 
and is called meliulo or meghalo. The 
whole party then sing songs, and visit every 
house in the village. A bowl of witer is 
poured over the mehtilo and the women receive 
some corn for their trouble.** 

Some believe that when the worship of the 
village-gods is neglected and when the people 
grow corrupt, ill-treat the saints and are 
given to the killing of cows and Brahmans, 



leagues, Indra and Varuna, to threaten the 
world with a drought. The rainfall returns 
only when the people revert to righteous 
ways, and after Indra and Varuna have 
been conciliated by offerings. 

The lower classes of the people believe a 
prolonged cessation of rain to be due to the 
wrath of local minor deities, aroused by the 
neglect of their worship. In such a con- 
tingency, therefore, they prepare bdklanf of 



* N. D. Vora, Kajpara. 

* The Schoolmaster of Ganod. 



1 K. D. Desai. 

' D. K. Pandya, Dhhaak. 

' The Schoolmaster of Upleta. 

"> The Deputy Educational Inspector of Gohelwad and K. D. Desai. 

* Offering oblations to gods by throwing ghi into the consecrated fire. 

t A flat round loaf, about two to four inches in diametre, prepared from the flour of uiad 



48 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



U(lad (lentils), lapsi* vadan\ and otlier 
dishes, and off'cr them to tiic local gods for 
their propitiation/ 

To stop an incessant ("all of rain, people 
often observe tl»e Aladra vow. The patel or 
headman issues a proclamation that on a par- 
ticular day none should cook, or churn wher, 
or fetch water, or wasli clothes, or attend to 
an}' of the multifarious household duties ; 
but that all should pass the day in prayer. 
A complete cessation from toil in favour of 
earnest devotion to divine powers are the 
peculiar features of this vow. People do 
not abstain from food : but food must be 
prepared on the previous day. If the rains 
do not cease in spite of this vow, but threaten 
the village with inundation, the headman leads 
a procession to the confines of the village 
and makes an offering to the waters. - 

In some places a sjjiuning wheel, some- 
times specially constructed of human bones, ^ 
is turned by a naked person in the reverse 
direction to the usual one, with the object 
of causing the cessation of immoderate 
rainfall.* 

A cessation of rains is also believed to be 
brought about by offering' an oblation to the 
god Kasatia, and by the observance of the 
vow called Kasatia ganth (or tying the knot 
of Kasatia). The vow lasts for three weeks, 
and those who observe it do not partake of 
anj-thing except rice^ (or, according to 
others, jirSn, a kind of spice''). 

Some persons attribute a heavy fall of 
rain to the wrath of Indra, and offer ceremo- 
nious prayers to appease that god.' In 



some places people engage the services of 
magicians to restrain the fall of rain.' 
Farmers sometimes brand tiic rain by casting 
burning sparks upon it in order to stop an 
incessant fall.'-' Vows in honour of samudra 
(the ocean) are also observed with the same 
object." 

In the changing circumstances of life, 
women more readily have recourse to reli- 
gious vows for the fulfilment of their wishes 
than men. This fondness of women for 
vows has brought into vogue a number of 
vrats or religious observances which are 
practised by women only. Gangigor or 
Ganagor, Vat-Savitii^ Moldlat^ Goiitrat, 
Alavana or Alunda^ Eva-vrat, Tidsi-vrat 
Uma 7nashesJitvar-vrafj and Surya-vrat are 
instances of such vows.^ The Moldhat-vrat 
is observed by virgins from the eleventh to 
the fifteenth day of the bright half of 
AsJiadh.''^'-' The Goulrdt-vrcit is believed to 
secure male progeny, as well as long life to 
the husband. It is observed on the fourth 
day of the dark half of Shravana, on which 
day women fast till the evening, and then 
take food after worshipping a cow. ^^ The 
object of the Eva-vrat (or Jivo-vrat) is to 
secure eternal exemption from widowhood, 
the day for this vow being llie last day of 
AshSdJi. It is then necessary to observe a 
fast till the evening ; and the only food 
allowed is a preparation of wheat, taken at 
nightfall.i2 

On the fourth day of the dark half of 
kS/irai'rtw, women observe a vrat called Bol. 
choth. In the morning the woman worships 



» M. M. Rana, Rajkot. 
♦ D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 



» K. D. Desai. 

•'' The Deputy Educational Inspector of Gohelwad. 

" The Shastri of Jetpur Prithashrili, and the Schoolmaster of Vanod. 

• The Schoolmaster of Mota Dewalia. According to him, the same vow is also observed to bring about a 
rainfall. 

' The Schoolmaster of Ganod. » The Schoolmaster of Vanod. 

" The Shastri of Jetpur Piitliashfiiri. lo The Schoolmaster of Jodia. 

" The Schoolmaster of ZinzuwAda. '- The Schoolmaster of Mendarda. 

* Coarse wheat-flour fried in ghi and sweetened with sugar or molasses. 

t Bean-flour, generally of gram or peas, is allowed to remain in water with spices, until the paste 
acquires a sufficient degree of consistency, when it is rolled into small biscuit-sized balls and fried in sweet oil. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



49 



a cow and her calf (wliici) must liotli he of women, who bring offerings of o-hi to the 



tlie s.inie colour), applies a little ccjtton to 
tlie horns of the cow, and makes an auspici- 
ous mark on the foreheads of botli witli red 
lac. She then places an offering of betel 
and rice before the cow, takes four turns 



goddess, and dance in a group at niglit to 
the accompaniment of melodious iianihis 
(songs) .2 Sometimes, if a child is ill, or 
some misfortune is apprehended, ^ornH/i, i,e., 
a certain number of unmarried girls and un- 



round the pair, and wiiispcrs in tlie ears of widowed women, are invited to a feast iu 
tile cow the words tarun satya miiriin vrilya honour of Randal. 



(your truth and my devotion). A Bralnnan 
then recites the legend of the vnil* 

After narrating this story, the Brahman 
takes the betel and other things ])laeed before 
the cow. The woman then returns home and 
takes food for the Hrst time during that day, 
the meal consisting of loaves of bajra-flour 
and some preparation of mng {phaseliis 
mimso). Some women take alii and hliir : 
but any preparation of cow's milk is strictly 



On the NdgapnncJiami day, i.<\, the 5tli 
day of the bright half of *S7/r«c«H,t women 
draw an image of a nag (cobra), and wor- 
ship it withsprouls oi' Ix'ijrd, In some places 
it is the custom to avoid all food hut lliL 
ched'i% on this day. 

The wad (the banyan tree) is worshipped 
on the first day of the dark half of Shrdvaii. 
On that day tlie woman wears a necklace of 
tiftreu leaves of this tree and prepares a dish 



forbidden. Similarly, there is a prohibition called iiainmiilh'utm,^ A donl or piece of 
against using things which have been cut by I string is also worn on th.- person toward 
a knife or scissors.^ 

The worship of the goddess Randal is a 
favourite vraf with Gujarat! women. A 
bower is erected for the installation of the 
goddess, and a bajat or a wooden stool is 
placed therein. A piece of fine cloth is 
spread on the biijat^ and a figure is drawn in 
seeds of corn. .\ kalitsio or bowl, with a 
cocoanut on it, is placed over the figure. The 
cocoanut has two eyes painted on it in black 
coll3Tium and a nose in red lac, and is de- 
corated with rich clothes and ornaments to 
represent the goddess Randal. Glii lamps 
are kept constantly burning before the god- 
dess for three consecutive davs and nights. 



An invitation is sent to the neighbouring 



off evil.- 

Rishi-pancJtaini^W Gauri-pii jmi, tSliitaldi- 
pujaii, Shili-sdtcm nre holidays observed onlj- 
by women. On the R't.ihi-poncliami d.iv only 
nlar*l\ rice is allowed to those who (ibscrvc 
the vrat,* 

Besides the observance of viiit.t^ there are 
otlier ceremonies, auspicious as well as inaus- 
picious, in which women alone can take part. 
Onlj' women are concerned with all those 
ceremonies which are gone through on the 
birth of a child. On the twelfth day after 
birth, a name is given to the child bj' its 
aunt The ceremony of making an auspicious 
mark on the throne of a king is 25'''f'>i""if:d 
by an unwidowed woman or an unmarried 
girl.-'"' 



- Tlie Schoolmasters of Vanod and Kolki. 
• The Schoolmaster of Jasdan. 



' The Schoolmaster of Jodia. 

3 The Schoolmaster of Surel. 

^ Mr. M. M. Rana, Rajkot. 

* The story tells how a woman and her daughter-in-law, intending to observe this vow, killed and cooked 
a calf by mistake ; covered with shame, they locked themselves up in their house, and refused admission to the 
neighbours, to whom they confessed their crime. On searching for the remains of the calf, the neighbours dis- 
covered that it had been miraculously restored to life, — R. E. E. 

t Some observe the NU^apanchitini on the fifth day of the bright half of Bbfidrapad. 

% A mixture of rice and pulse treated with spices and cooked in svater. 

§ A preparation of nine handfuls of wheat. II Vv.!e Page 24. 

^ A kind of rice grown without ploughing. 



50 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



At tlic time of a marriage, women make 
tlie auspicious mark on tlu- forehead of the 
bridegroom and carry a Iciman-divo* to fetch 
ukurdi* Tor nine days preceding the date 
of marriage the bride and the bridegroom 
are besmeared with /"'/"' or yellow turmeric 
powder, wlicn auspicious songs are recited 
bv a party of women invited to witness tiie 
ceremony. When the bridegroom reaches the 
( nti-auir nt' tlie marriage bower, he is wel- 
comed there by his mother-in-law, who 
carries him on her hip to his seat in the 
marriage booth/ 

It is necessary to make certain marks on 
the c(n-pse of a woman, and these marks are 
made by women only.- Similarly, women 
alone take part in the ceremony of getting a 
widow's hair shaved on tlie ninth day after 
her husband's death." 

The Shastras have enjoined the worship of 
certain higher-grade deities, and have i^res- 
cribed certain ceremonials for the purpose. 
15ut women are not authorised to make use of 
these ceremonies. The reason is that the 
Shdstriis regard women as inferior to men 
.uid do not grant them the privileges given to 
the latter. They are not allowed to learn 
the I'edas nor can the Gayatri-muntra be 
taught to them. The result is that women 
are not qualified to perform the ceremonial 
worship of such higher-grade deities as 
\'ishnu, Shiva, Durga, Ganpati, and Hanu- 
nian ; ^ similarlv the sacrificial rites of 



Vishnttyag^ Shahtiyag^ Ashvamedha, Raja- 

ijajna^ .-lud Gdi/iil ri-piira.ilicliciran can only bi; 
performed by men.' 

It is the duty of men only to worship the 
shanti tree (prosopis spicegeia) on the Dasurii 
day, .and the Iliilasliniii fire on the day of 
Holi.-' 

WoniLii are not allowed to worship the god 
Kartikey, who is said to slum women, and to 
have pronounced a curse against all who ^isit 
his image. ^ 

The fifteenth diy of the bright half of 
Chtiilia is the anniversary of the birth of 
Hanuman, and ;i vrat called Hanuman- 
jciyanti is observed on this day. This 
I'/Y//,'' as well as the Ganesh-clmturthi-vrat'' 
.are meant only for men. 

The ceremonies of Shraddhaf and the 
Baleva^ ceremonies can be performed by men 
only. The duty of giving agni-sanslcar^ 
to corpses, i.e., of performing the necessary 
rites at a funeral, is also laid on men. 

People who practise the art of attaining 
mastery over spirits and fiends, usually 
remain naked while they are engaged in the 
performance of their mysterious rites. 
There are many branches of this black art : 
for instance, Mdiciii,'' Uchchalan^^^ Lam- 
ban J'ashlknian,^^ Muhan,^'- Statnbltan,^'^ 
etc., and although the meli vidyd (sacrile- 
gious art) is not held in respect by high- 
I class Hindus, it is popular among the lower 



' The Schoolmaster of Ganod. 2 Mr^ m. M. Rana, Rajkot. 

"• The Schoolmaster of Zararari-ZfiravS. 

' Tlie Schoolmaster of Kolki and the Head-Mistresi of Rajkot Civil Station Girls' School. 

' Mr. K. D. Desai. » The Shastri of Jetpur Prithashfil,"!. 

' The Schoolmaster of Surel. » Mr. N. M. Dave, Sanka. 

^ The art of taking the life of a person by means of a magical process called iiiiith-niSravL The 
victim of tliis process suddenly vomits blood and loses his life, unless the evil influence is counteracted by 
another sorcerer. — B. K. Dave, ICotda Sangani. 

'" Causing a person to leave his business by making him disgusted with it, by means of magical spells. 

" The art of so influencing the conduct of a person as to bring him perfectly under control. 

'- Bewildering an enemy by means of magical charm?. 

13 The suppression of any force cr feeling by magical means. 

* The mother of the bride, accompanied by other women who sing songs on the way, carries an iron lamp 
to the village-boundary, and from that place the party bring earth to erect the altars on which sacrificial 6res 
are burnt. The lamp is called lUman-divo and the earth which is brought is called ukanli^ — K. D. Desai. 

t Viilc question 10. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



51 



classes. There is a belief that knowledge of 
this art dooms a person to hell ; but it 
secures to those who master it a position of 
much importance, and therefore finds 'many 
followers. The art consists in the know- 
ledge of certain mysterious incantations, 
which enable a person to influence the spirits 
and to bring about certain results through 
their agency. Not only has every person when 
learning this art, to remain naked, but all 
those who make pr'J^og"* or experiments in it 
afterwards must observe the same precaution. 
The night of Kdli-chaudas or the 14th day of 
the dark half of Ashvin^ is considered to be 
the most favourable time for the sitilhan or 
accomplishment of this secret art of rcmaininfr 
naked.'^ On this day, it is the custom of 
those who exercise the art, to go stripped to 
a cemetery in the dead of night, and to cook 
food in a human skull as an offering to the 
spirits residing in the neighbourhood. On 
the same night, some sorcerers, after strip- 
ping themselves, are said to ride round the vil- 
lage on some mysterious conveyance. - 

A practice is noted among low-elass people 
of performing a sadhana before the goddess 
Jhampadi for the sake of progeny. The 
man who performs the sadhana, has first to go 
naked to a cemetery on a Sunday night, and 
to fetch therefrom the ashes of a corpse. 
At the time of the sadhana^ the man takes 
his seat on a corpse, fills a madaliun or hol- 
low bracelet with the ashes brought from the 
cemetery, and puts it on his arm above the 
elbow * 

DkobiSj Malis, J'alands and other low- 
caste people remain naked while worshipping 
Bhairav.'' In the performance of the 
anushthan (propitiation) of such deities as 
Kal-Bliaira%-,5 Batuk,^ Mani," Griva," etc., 
the devotees keep their persons uncovered. 



The worshippers of the goddess Jakshani 
also remain naked when they attend upon her.^ 

Persons who practise tlieartof curing men 
from the effects of serpent-bites by means of 
incantations, have to sit naked under water 
in order to gain efficacy for their manlras,* 

Followers'of the Devi-panth, Shaldi-panth 
and Aghorl-panth sects remain naked while 
worshipping or offering victims to their 
gods.'** Tiima-margis worship a nude image 
of the goddess Digambard.-' 

The hook-shaped instrument, known as 
ganeskio, which is used by thieves in boring 
a hole through the walls of a house, is some- 
times prepared by a blacksmith and his wife 
on the night of Kdli-chaudas^ both being 
naked at the time. Instruments prepared in 
this fashion are believed to secure success for 
the thief, who scrupulously sets aside the first 
booty acquired by the help of the ganeshio 
for the blacksmith as a reward for his 
services. He docs not grudge the reward 
however large the booty may be.- 

In making dice according to the directions 
of Ramalashdsira, the workers should remain 
naked. ^ 

Tliere is a belief that granulations in the 
eyes of a child are cured if the maternal 
uncle fetches naked the beads of the Arani 
tree, and puts a circlet of them round the 
neck of the child.^ 

If a person uncovers himself on hearing 
the screech of an owl, and then ties and 
unties seven knots in a piece of string, re- 
peating the process twenty-one times, the 
piece of string is believed to possess the 
virtue of curing Taria Tdv or periodical 
fever.io Another remedy for the same 
ailment is to go to a distance of three miles 
from the village and there to eat food which 
has been cooked in a state of nudity.^ 



1 Mr. K. D. Desai. 

3 Mr. N. M. Dave, Sanka. 

» Mr. B. K. Dave, Kota Sangani. 

' Mr. D. K. Pandya, Dhhank. 

^ The Deputy Educational Inspector of Gohelwad. 



- The Schoolmaster of Ganod. 
* The Schoolmaster of Moti Murad. 
« Mr, N. D. Vora, Rajpara. 
s Ttie Schoolmasters of Dhhank and Songadn. 
'o The Schoolmasters of Upleta and Aman. 



52 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



In the preparation of Nargudikalpa* or 
Gujalialpa*, some drugs liavc to be procured 
by a naked person. - 

It is considered meritorious by some per- 
sons to rise early in tbe morning and to 
bathe naked on the Makar Sankranti day." 

A Brahman boy must be naked at the time 
of the peformance of his thread investiture 
ceremony. After the ceremony, the maternal 
uncle of the boy presents garments to liim, 
■which he thereupon puts on.^ 

In Gujarat, for the most part, the people 
seem to be umcquainted with the belief that 
certain stones possess the virtue of influen- 
cing the rain. Some persons however attribute 
this quality to the stones on such sacred 
mounts as Girnar, Abu, and Paviigadh.'' 
There is a point called Toiik, on mount 
Girnar, of which it is said that rain is certain 
to fall whenever anyone succeeds in climbing 
it." There is also a common belief tliat arasi 
marble if heated has influence over rain." 

It is a common practice to submerge the 
imaget of Shiva in water with tlie object of 
bringing rain. Siaularly the imaget of the 
goddess Harshadh is sometimes bathed when 
rain is desired. ^ The bhuva or thcl>I>ui^ i.e., 
the male and the female attendants of the 
goddess are at the same time given a bath, and 
an ofi'ering of Khirl^ is made to the goddess.** 

There are two goals which a pious Hindu 
tries to attain by leading a life of j^urity 
and virtue, vi::,, (i) moksha or final emancipa- 
tion, merging into the Eternal Spirit, and 
(ii) sivarga (heaven or paradise) where meri- 
torious persons enjoy pure pleasures unalloy- 
ed by earthly cares. The stars arc the spirits 



of so many righteous persons who are trans- 
lated to s}varga for their good actions, and 
are endowed with a lustre proportionate to 
their individual merits. But every moment 
of enjoyment in sivarga diminishes the store 
of merit : and those whose whole merit is thus 
exhausted, on receiving their proportionate 
share of pleasures, must resume their worldly 
existence. Tlie Bhagavad-gltii says : " !ai°r 
^ait JT?^f?f^- r^5TP?T " Ke., "they enter the 
mortal world when their merit is expended.'' 
Meteors are believed to be spirits of this 
description who fall from their position as 
stars, to live again on this earth." 

Another explanation of meteors is that 
they ai e the sparks produced when the vimdns 
(or vehicles) of celestial people clash against 
each other.^" 

Meteors are also held to be the age'ir or 
charah (i.e., excreta) dropped either by a 
curious water-bird,- or by Garud, the favour- 
ite eagle, and vehicle of Vishnu, ^^ or by a 
fabulous bird Anal.^- The latter is said to flj- 
at an immeasurable height from the surface 
of the earth, and to take food only once a 
day.^- It is almost impossible to catch the 
charah wlien it falls to earth: but if ever it 
can be secured, the application of it to the 
eyes of a blind man will restore his eyesight. 
It also furnishes an effective remedy for 
leprosy, and gives a golden lustre to the 
body of a person sufl'ering from that 
disease.^' 

Some declare that meteors are stars which; 
fall owing bo the curse of Indra, and subse- 
quently assume the highest human form on- 
earth. -"^ 



' The Schoolmaster of Aman. 

• Mr. K. D. Desai. 
The Shastri of Jetpur Pathashiilii. 
' The Schoolmaster of Putanvfiv. 
'" The Schoolmaster of Jodia. 



• Mr. Nandlal Kalidas, Chhatrasa. 
•' The Deputy Educational Inspector of Halar. 
5 The Shastris of Jetpur and Bhayavadar. 
' The Schoolmaster of Chok. 

• Mr. K. D. Desai and the Schoolmaster of Dhhank. 
" The Schoolmaster of Ganod, 

'- The Schoolmasters of Dhhank and Ganod and the Mistress of Rajkot Civil Station Girls' School. 

• Name of a medicinal preparation. 

t But the virtue of influencing rain belongs to the Shiva liiiga and to the idol of Harshadh, not because- 
they are made of any particular kind of stone, but because they represent certain deities, 
t Rice cooked in milk and sweetened with sugar. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



oo 



It is also said that the stars descend to 
earth in Imman forii\ wlien sins aeeuiuulatc 
in the celestial world/ 

The influeiiee ol' meteors on human aft'airs 
is treated at length in the Vurahasanhitd.'- 
Tlie phenomenon is popularly regarded as an 
evil omen : it is supposed to portend devasta- 
tion by fire, an earthquake, a famine, an 
epidemic, danger from thieves, and storms at 
sea." The appearance of a bright shooting 
star is supposed to foretell the death of some 
great man ;■• and on beholding one, it is 
customary to repeat the words ' Ram Ram ** 
several times.-' A showrr of meteors is be- 
lieved to presage some civil commotion or a 
change in the ruling dynasties. 

Some persons, however, regard the appear- 
ance of meteors as auspicious or baneful, 
according to the manilal or group of stars, 
from whicli they are seen to fall. Meteors 
from the Vayu.mandal, (or the group of stars 



known by the name of Vfiyu) portend the 
breaking out of an epidemic : those from 
Vanina.mandal, are believed to be favourable 
to human happiness ; if they fall from 
Indru-mandal^ they forebode danger to all 
kings : those from Agni-mandal^ threaten 
war between nations.'" 

During the monsoons, rain is believed to 
fall in that direction in which a meteor is 
seen to shoot. ^ A meteor in the west is 
ominous to kings, and if it falls into the sea, 
it forebodes evil to tlie dwellers on earth.* 

The appearance of a comet is believed to 
portend some dire calamitj' to the king and 
the nation.* It is said that if a heavenly 
body is seen, chhogalo,^ chhogala kings 
( '.<'., great and celebrated kings) are in 
danger of their lives." .\ comet is also 
believed to tlireatt n all tailed animals with 
destruction.'' 



1 The Schoolmaster of Sayala. Perhaps it is the accumulation of sin in this world that brings down the 
saints of hea.en in humaa form. The earth is unable to beir too much sin and woulJ soon coBe to an end 
if the balance between virtue and sin were not maintained. It is for tliis purpose that saints are born in this 
world and add to the store of merit on eartli, by preaching righteousness to people and by leading a virtuous 
life.— K. D. Desai. 

* The Schoolmaster of Ganod. '' The Schoolmasters of Rajpara, Vasiwad, Upleta, and Khirasara. 

* The Schoolmasters of Fitanvfiv and Sultfinpur. ' The Schoolmaster of Sultanpur. 

" The Schoolmaster of Charadwfi. " The Deputy Educational Inspector of Gohelwact 

' The Schoolmaster of Jodia. ' The Schoolmaster of Songadli, 

* It is an act of merit to repeat the name of lifim, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. As the death of a 
righteous person is due to the growth of sin in tliis world, people utter the name of Rim in order to atone for 
.hat sin. The name is repeated as long as the shooting star is visible. Vaishnavas recite the name of 
Krishna.— K. D. Desai. 

It is also said that the name of Kfim or Krishna is repeated, because tlie falling star enters the Court of 
God Bhagwan. — The Schoolmaster of Lakhnpadar. 

t (/.e.) with a tail. ChhogJi is the end of a turban, which is allowed to hang down the back. 



CHATTER II- 



HKROIC GODLINGS 



QKVEKAL stories, in addition to the legend 
^ of tlic Ritmayam , are related of tlve birtli 
of the god Hniuinian. Dasliaratha, king nf 
Ayodhja, being eliildless, oiiee performed 
a sacrifice witli tlie hope of thereby obtaining 
male issue. On tlie completion of the cere- 
mony a hcaveni)' being rose out of tlic sacri- 
ficial Hre and presented the Iving witll a 



a son named Hanuman. This son had the , 
form of a mankey, because, at the time of 
eoneejjtion, AnjanT ha])pcned to behold a 
monkey, naine'd Keshi, on a neighbouring 
tree. 

Ilanuinaa is a clnraltjiiui , i.i-,, mie of those 
seven * fjcrsoiis who arc to Jive lor ever and 
arc therefore considered to be immortal. 



celestial preparation, called l>ii.'/"», which be He is represented as possessed of miraculous 

directed the king to give to his wives if he | strengtii, and iiis body is lajramai/a, i.e., 

desired a son. Th<- king divided the divine adamantine. Wlien Sita w.is carried otf by 

gift among his three queens ; but the share j Havana, it was he who crossed the sea and 

of one of them was snatched away by an ; brought news about lior to Kama. When 

eagle. It was dropped into the hands of ' Abi and :\Iahi, two cousins of Havana, earri- 

Anj.-uii; wlio was herself childless, .-md was ; ed off Kama and Lakslimana by magic and 

practising austerities for the sake of obtain- decided to ofi'er them as vietiu.s to their 

in"- son. On |)art,aking ol' the p''!)"'', ! favourite goddess Panoti, Hanuman entered 

Anjani coiieeived. and the son boni to her • the temple of I'anoti, crushed her under his 

Avas afterwards known as the god Hanuman. i feet, and released Rama and I.akshmana. 

Another story relates how Anjani was one \ Hence he is known as the conqueror of Panoti. 

of those persons who helped Indra in liis After the death of Rfivana, Hanuman was 



evil designs on Ahalya, tin wife of (iautama. 
She had on that account been cursed by 
Gautama, and threatened with the birth of a 
fatherless child. To ))re^•ent the curse from 
f-ikiiig elFect, .\njani buried lierself in the 
ground as far as Jier waist, and began to 
•observe religious austerities in the hope of 
j)ropitiating Shiva. The latter was ])Ieased 
with Iier devotion, and sent her a mantra 
through Narada, who was ordered to deliver 
it in her car. Vayu, the god of wind, forced 
the maiiirn into her womb, and she eoneeived 



left to guard the kingdo'm of Lanka, which 
was conferred by llama on Ribhishana, the 
brother of Ravana.^ 

Hanuman is an incarnation ol one of the 
eleven Rudras.t - is a hrulimacluiri {i.e., one 
who has taken the vow of celibacy), a power- 
fid and benevolent deity, and a giver of 
many blessings. .\t the same time, lie is 
eonsidered to be the master-deity of all 
hhuts, prels, pisluuhas, (ghosts, goblins, 
fiends), of diikan.1 (witches). sliakans, 
rliiidcl^ niiifri, of the forty-niut virs (male 



' The SchoDlmaster o( Vasavad. 



' K. D. Desai, from the answers of various Schoolmasters. 

■" Tlie following couplet niPDtioiis nil of them ; 

t A £;roup of gods supposed to be inferior innnifostations of Shiva, who is said to be the lie:id of the group. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



55 



flends), of tlie fifty-two vetnls, of yahslias j 
and yalcshinis and of all evil spirits in 
general, who nrc believed to obey his 
vouimands.' Vows arc observed in honour 
■ol' Haminian it" a perso:i is possessed by a 
hhnt <ir a pret^ or if he is scared by a jhap it 
(sudden encounter) with a devil, or if he 
happens to step inadvertently within the 
httiidalan^ of an iitdr. Persons who are ))os- 
sessed by evil spirits arc exorcised Iiy the 
bhitfas by reciting the znnzirn mantra in 
bonour of Hanuuian.- 

Kali-C'haudas, i. i\, tlie 1 Ith day of dark 
half of Ashvint is considered to be the most 
favourable day for practising the black arl ; 
and the god Ilamuuan is accordingly wor- 
shipped with much ceremony by lihiirax <>ii 
that day.^ 

All blutts, prft.s and spirits are thus 
Relieved to obey the commands of the god 
Hanumaii. In the course of a sad liana (j. e. 
the ijrocess of procuring the fulfilment of 
■certain desires through the favour and by 
the agency of spirits ) the latter are con- 
jured in the name of Hanunian, so tliat the 
^(idhana may not prove ineflicacious. For 
tliis purpose the Hanuman raksha mantra is 
repeated one hundred and eight times befors 
the image of the god, the devotee remaining 
standing all tlie time. A lamp of clarified 
butter is also lighted, and frankincense is 
burnt. The mantra runs as follows : — ' Om 
iiamo Hanuman bfda ghatapldam, panika 
rakhavrda, lohaki kothadi, bajarka tala, 
deva-danava-kumar, nikal Hanumiiu asan., 
Mahadev basan, Hanuman hathela, hajarkii 
khila.' It is neither pure Sanskrit, nor 
■Gujarati, nor Hindustani, but roughly it 



means : — ' Bow to the young Hamiinan, the 
tormentor of ghala, the guardian of water, 
the iron-safe, the lock of vajra, the son of 
the gods and the demons. Take your seat, 
the receptacle of Mahadev, () stubborsi god, 
O Xail of adamant.' After the repetition of 
the mantra^ four nails are driven into the 
four corners of th'; seat of the \otary, and 
it is believed tiiat the xddliana is thus 
rendered sure of success-" 

The god H.-uium.au is sometimes worship- 
])ed when a serious ei>idemic is to be warded 
i>tf. The usual mode of i>ropitiating him in 
such cases, and also in exorcising spirits, is 
to pour red lead and oil over his image, to 
uiike an offering of iidad seeds ( Phnscolus 
radiatiis) and mol.isses, and to iu\estthe 
image with a wrc.ith of one hundred and 
eight flowers of dnlcada^ or of as many 
leaves or berries of the same plant.' 

The influence of the god is believed to be 
so powerful in some [)Iaces that it is said 
that a bhiit or a pishdcha is at once exorci- 
sed from till' body of a person who observes 
certain ceremonies there. In some places 
the mere sight of the image of the god has 
the same effect, and it is believed that 
ghosts shriek and fly from tlie bodies of 
possessed persons, if these- visit the images of 
Hanuman. In Kodolia, about half a mile to' 

' the west of Lilapur in (Jujarat, there is a 
temple of Hanuman where persons suffering 
from fever goon a S.iturday, and take a meal 

' before 2 p. m. at whieli time the god goes 
out to graze his cows. This proceeding is 
believed to work a cure in ca?es of fever 

, and is called anagah.^' A mere glance at 
the temple of Ilauum.'ui at Kliandia and 



* Tlie Schoolmaster of Dadvi. 

• The Deputy Educational Inspector, I'rant Halar. 



' Tlie Schoolmaster of Kajpara. 

' The Schoolmaster of Limbdi Taluka. 

"■ The Schoolmaster of Lilapur. 

* Kumldlaii is the circle formet round the utar hy a bliuv^i, after lie has placed tiie uta,r in a ceraeteiy or 
over a crosswaj-. — The Schoolmaster of Dadvi. 

I This is the day to learn such arts as that of iniitli, cliot, inaraii, etc., i.e., the art of doing bodily injuries 
by means of magic even to persons who are at a distant place. The process is gone through in a cemetery at 
the dead of night. — The Solioolmaster of Rajpara. 

I A poisonous plant, the leaves of which are used in fomenting in cases of palpitation and of stomach 
troubles, — The Deputy Educational Inspector, Pnlnt Hiilar. 



56 



THE FOLKLOHE OF GUJARAT 



Saruiighur, or oi' tli.it ini,ig>- wliicli is known 
as ' BIiid-Mianj.-in,' is siifficii nt to drive out 
evil spirits I'roni tlu- bio(U<s of possessed 
persons.' Tlie same virtue is attril)utcd to 
tlie imager of Hanuinan at Bliuraklii;i, near 
Lathi and at Xariana, near l)lirMiiga<lIir.i, 
in Jlialavar,'- Katliiawar.-' 

Thcre arc certain i>eculiar eonjunctions of 
planets, which if they appear in a person's 
horoscope, always bring him misfortunes. 
In such circumstances, liie person is said to 
be under the infliieiiee of panoti,'^ Sueli 
influence lasts for a period varying from one 
year to seven years and a hall.' ^\ hen 
the planet Shani (Saturn) enters tlie 1st, 
11th, or tlie 12th raslii in relation to a per- 
son, the latter is said to be affected by 
sadasuti-panoli, i.e., jmnoti extending over 
seven years and a lialf.'' Tlie punoli 
enters the life of sueli a person with feet 
eitlier of gold, silver, copper or iron : and in 
most cases the result is disastrous- If the 
panoti aflY'cts tlie liead of a person, he loses 
his wits ; if it affects the heart, it takes 
away his wealtii ; when it affects the feet, it 
brings bodily ailments, in order to counter- 
act the evil effects of panoti, people 
worship Hanunian as the god who crushed 
the malignant goddess Panoti under his feet. 
On Saturdays red lead and oil, adad, molas- 
ses are offered to the image of the god. ■ 
Frankincense is burnt, a lamp is lighted, 
and a wreath of anlcudii flowers is sometimes 
dedicated.'' A fast is observed on such 
days ; and sometimes the services of a 
Brahman are engaged to recite verses in 
lionour of the god.^ 

There is a l)elief that Hanumrui cries out 
once in twelve rears, and those men wlio 



happen to lirar liini are transformed into 
hijadiis (eunueiis). • 

Oil whicli has been Jjoured o\ i r tJie image 
of Haniiman and caught in a vessel is called 
naman. It is sometimes carried in a vSlkt 
(a small metal cup) and is burnt to produce 
aiijait (i. e., soot used as collyrium). Tlii!» 
anjan is believed to improve the eyesiglit, 
and to protect a person from the influence 
of evil spirits.'- Ther<: is a saying i» 
Gujarati that Kali-chaudasno anjyo,ane koine 
"" }"y g''>*j'0 ■ i. e.,a person using anjan on 
Kaliehaudas day cannot be foiled by anyone.* 

Of the days of the week, Saturday is the 
most suitable for the worsliip of Hanuman. 
Of all oft'erings, that of red lead and oil i& 
the most acceptable to him.'' When Hanu- 
man was carrying the Drona mountain to 
the battlefield before I.anka, he was wound- 
ed in the leg by an arrow from Bharata, 
tile brother of Rama. Tlie wound was 
iiealed i)y tin- application of red lead and 
oil, and Iieiice his predilection for these 
things.- It is also said that after the 
death of Uavana and at the time of the 
coronation of Bibhisliana, Rama distributed 
prizes to all his monkey followers, when 
nothing was left for Hanuman except red 
lead and oil. 

^lostly .tnkada flowers arc used in \vor- 
shipping Hanuman, but sometimes Koran 
flowers also are made to serve the purpose. - 
The favourite dishes of Hanuman are 
viaHdda\_ chiirama^ and vadt'in,^ '' The usual 
naivedya is malidda of Savapati, i.e., of 
wheat weighing about six pounds and a 
quarter and radiin.' 

Bhima the second of the Panda vas was 
begotten from Kunti by VTiyu, the god of 



I 



' Ttie Schoolmaster of Ganod, 
* Tlie Schoolmaster of Sanka. 



' The Schoolmaster cf Songadh. 

■' The Schoolmaster of Jodia, 

' The Schoolmaster of Dadvi. 

« K, P. Desai. ' The Schoolmaster of Rajpara. 

* The pnunii ;annot affect anybody who has an elder male relative living. /. c., it influences only 

the eldest male member of a family. — K. D. Desai. 
t A sweet preparation of wheat flour fried in ghi, 
J Sweet balls of wheat flour fried and afterwards soaked in ghi. 
^ Small biscuit-sized cakes of p\il'« flour treated with spices and fried in oil — K. D. Desai. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



57 



wind, and hence was called VSyusuta. From 
his childhood he was possessed of miraculous 
strength, and had a voracious appetite. 
Every day he consumed 12 kalashis* (or 192 
maunds) of corn, and as much oil as is 
yielded by 13 ghanis,* He also required a 
maund and a quarter of betelnuts after each 
dinner. These habits had j)'"oci"'cd liim the 
name of Vrikodara, i.e., wolf-bellied. He 
played a very important part in the Great 
War, and on the last day of the battle smash- 
ed the thigh of Duryodhana with his ponder- 
ous mace. In his early days he killed several 
demons including Baka and Hidimba.' 

Bhima never took food without first wor- 
shipping Mahadev. On one occasion no 
temple of Shiva could be found within easy 
distance, and in a rage, Bhima turned his 
bowl upside down and set it up as Mahadev. 
Such was the first installation of Bhimanath 
Mahadev revered to this day by all Hindus.' 

Once upon a time Bhima obstructed the 
stream of a river by laying himself across it, 
when the river rose to the banks and sub- 
merged a temple of Shiva near by. Shiva 
thereupon assumed the form of a lion and 
pretended to chase ParvatI in the guise of a 
cow. Bhima, in his true Kshatriya spirit, 
instantly rose from the water in order to 
save the cow from the lion. But the latter 
gave Bhima a blow on the shoulder with one 
of his paws, and instantly transformed him- 
self into a sage. After Bhima had fruit- 
lessly searched for the lion for a long time, 
he was informed by the sage that it was he, 
Shiva, who had assumed the form of a lion in 
order to rouse him from his position across the 
river. Shiva then favoured him with a boon 
that the half of his body which had received 
the blow would be turned into vajra (adam- 



ant). On Bhima's request a further boon 
was granted to him that he should in 
future be able to digest as much as he could 
eat without suffering discomfort. Hence- 
the proverb: Bh'ima kJi.ave shakuni aghe.^ 

It is said that Bhima once played at 
navatcri (lit. nine and thirteen), i.e., he 
flung into the sky nine elephants with his 
right hand and thirteen with his left. The 
corpses of these animals were afterwards 
brought down to earth by Shukamuni to 
expiate king Janmejaya's sin of Brahmahatya 
(Brahman-slaughter). - 

In his whole life-time Bliinia is said to 
have fasted only on one daj-, which happened 
to be the eleventh day of the bright half of 
Jyeshtha and is now called Bhlma-agidras, 
On this day people who desire to be cured 
of dyspepsia observe a strict fast, taking 
neither food nor water, and pass their hands 
over their bellies repeating the name of 
Bhima and also offer cocoanuts to his image. "* 
On the night of Bhhna-agiilras^ persons who 
are anxious to obtain health, wealth and 
victory over thoir enemies, bathe the image 
of Bhima in water and pancliamrit^ and 
worship it according to the prescribed cere- 
monies.* 

In some places there are vavs (or tanks) 
called Bhima-vavs which are said to have 
been formed by the strokes of Bliima, 
when playing gilli-dandaj' 

There are huge images of Bliima on Mount 
Palitana.*" There are manj' places in differ- 
ent parts of India which possess such images 
and which are believed to have been visited 
by the Pandavas durijig their exile from 
Hastinapur. The Pandavas never attained 
the status of gods and there is no systematic 
form of worship for them.' 



^ K. D. Desai. ^ The Schoolmaster of Aman. 

3 The Shastri of Jetpur Pathashala. • The Schoolmaster of Rajpara. 

^ The Schoolmaster of Kolki. ° The Schoolmaster of Ganod. 

* A ghani is that quantity of oil seeds which is put in at one time to be crushed in an oil mill, 
t A mixture of milk, honey, curds, sugar and ghi. 



f 



58 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



Bhislima, Hie unck: of the Kauravas and 
the Pandavas, was an incarnation of one of 
the Aslitavasus' and was the son of king 
Sliantanu by Ganga. The stories about 
Bhlshnia are chiefly derived from the Maha- 
bharat, and need not be repeated liere. He 
is not regarded as a god and does not receive 
systematic worship. "^ 

A fast is observed on the eighth day of 
Magh, the anniversary of the death of 
Bliishma. A dora (a knotted piece of string) 
tied in the name of Bhishma is believed to 
cure fever.- The Yanira (a mystical for- 
mula or diagram) of Bhishma is sometimes 
drawn on a piece of paper, water is poured 
over it, and the water is offered to women in 
labour to drink, as likely to expedite delivery. 
Bh?shma-worship is supposed to facilitate 
the observance of the Brahmacharya-vrat 
(the vow of celibacy) and to bestow heroism 
and learning.^ Bhishma is credited with hav- 
ing composed the well-known poem, Bhlshma- 
stavaraj, which recites the glory of Krishna 
and shows the way to attain salvation.* 
There is a large temple of Ganpati near 
the eastern gates of Dlihank. It is said 
tliat this Ganpati informed a goldsmitli, by 
appearing in a dream, that he was buried in 
a particular spot, and promised that a son 
would be born to him if he raised a temple in 
honour of the god. The goldsmith satisfied 
the wishes of the god and was soon relieved 
from the repeated taunt of the vfmsidpand 
(t. e., the barrenness of his wife).^ 

The following tradition is connected with 
a place, about a mile from Dhhank, called 
Dhliank-ni Fui. Dhhank was in ancient 
times a great city and was known as Preh 
Pdtan\, Once a bdvd ( recluse ) , named 



Dhundlialimal, came to reside with liis chela 
(disciple) in a cave on a neighbourinif liill. 
Every day the chela went about the city 
begging alms for himself and his guru ; but 
nobody except a poor kumbhdran (a potter- 
woman) ever gave him anything. So tlie 
cheld was obliged to cut and sell fuel in 
order to obtain means of subsistence, although 
he did not mention this fact to his guru. 
One day the guru noticed the growing bald- 
ness of his disciple and on being questioned 
about it, the latter had to admit his difficul- 
ties in earning a livelihood. The next day 
the bdvu decided to test the charity of the 
neighbourhood, and went on a begging round 
in person. He moved about the citj' from 
door to door, crying aloud iileic iilek, but 
nobody except the kumbhar woman offered 
him so much as a liandful of flour. He 
then addressed the latter thus: — "Girl, this 
city is sinful and will shortl}' meet with 
destruction. Fly, therefore, instantly with 
your familj' and never turn your face 
tow-ards the city in your fliglit"- Having 
thus warned the only righteous person in 
the city, the bdvd returned to his cave 
where, after reciting an incantation in higli 
exasperation, he pronounced a terrible curse 
for the destruction of the city 'Let Patan 
be buried and let mdydX be reduced to mati 
(dust).' A whirlwind at once arose and 
destroyed the wliole city. Tlie kumbhdran 
had already fled with her children ; but slie 
unfortunately happened to look back in her 
flight, in spite of the warning, and she and 
her children were all turned into stones. In 
this form she can be seen even to-day, with 
two of her children on her shoulders and 
leading the other two. 



» The Shastri of Jetpur Piithashala. 
♦ The Schoolmaster of Charadwa, 



> Mr. K. D. Desai. 
' The Schoolmaster of Rajpara. 

> The Schoolmaster of Dhhank. 

* The Vasus are a class of deities, eight in number, and are often collectively called Asht.=ivasus. 

t Vide Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. VIII, page 414. 

} Jl/aya, in philosophy, means the illusion, by virtue of which, one considers the unreal universe as 
existent and distinct from the supreme spirit. Here it means the effect of jiidyii, the unreal splendour of the 
world, in fact plienomena opposed to the noumenon. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



59 



To tlie south of the same village on the 
banks of a small lake are situated the 
temples of Hinglaj .Mata and Kanidev Mahfi- 
dev. If there is a prospect of a drought in 
any year, the people of the \illage make 
an otl'ering oi lapsi to the former deity in 
order to bring about a fall of rain. About 
two miles from Diihank there is a temple of 
\'ikani, in wliose honour vows are observed 
for the cure of fractured bones of men and 
animals. Briilimans are feasted at tlie 
temple of Hanuman at Timbo, four miles 
away from Dhhank. At a distance of about 
two hhetarviis (fields) there is llie shrine of 
Ashabi-pir where Mussahuans feast fakirs 
and other eo-roligiouists of theirs. i 

Besides the above tliere are the temples of 
Shankar Tapakeslnvar Maliadtv and Mun- 
geshwar Maliadev near the hill mentioned 
in the paragrapli above and tlie temples of 
Pipaleshwar Mahadev and Ramchandraji, to 
the south of Dhhank. There are also temples 
erected in honour of suttees kno«-n as 
Xomalmata, Hulmata, etc.^ 

The river Vinu meets the Bhadar, at a 
j)laee two miles to the east of Ganod, and 
tlie Moja also joins the Bhadar a little further 
to the east. Hence the spot is called Traveni 
( a. confluence of three rivers ) and is re- 
garded as holy. The beautiful temple of 
Baraneshwar Maliiidev is situated here. Vows 
for feasting a certain number of Brahmans, 
are observed in honour of this deity.- 

The celebrated shrine of Husen-pir is 
situated in the vicinity of Ganod, and is 
mucli revered by the Khoja community, who 
hold a fair there on every -Iso-sud-bij^ i.e. 
the second day of the bright half of Ashvin. 
The fair lasts for seven or eight days, when 
Khojas from Bombay and even Zanzibar 
visit the place. A large building, the Khoja- 
kliana, is set apart to the west of the shrine 
for the sabha ( or meeting ). The largest 
fair was held in samvat 1940 (1884 A.D.), 
when H. H. the Agashah paid a visit to the 



shrine. There is a large gathering of people 
at the place every bij day." 

Husen-pir was a native of Kadi and a 
Saiyed by birth. In his youth, with his^ 
father's permission, he decided to remain 
unmarried, and took to travelling. In the 
course of his wanderings he halted for a 
week on the spot where his shrine stands at 
present, and was so charmed with the place, 
that he asked tlie owner of it, a Rabari, 
Almora by name, for permission to reside 
there always. The Pir was accompanied by 
two followers of the Mujavar fakir sect. 
The present Mujavar attendants at the shrine 
are descended from them, and stand in the 
12th or the 15th degree of descent. ^ 

One evening (it was the 5th day of the 
dark half of Bhadrapad) the Pir accompanied 
by his two followers went to the Bhadar to 
offer the evening prayers. After the prayers 
were over, he told his followers that a flood 
was soon coming in the river, and asked both 
of them to leave him and return with their 
horses. One of them left the place as direct- 
ed: but tlie otlier placed Iiis head on the 
Pir's lap and was drowned along with his- 
master in the flood, which came down as if 
in obedience to the Pir's words. Before dy- 
ing the Pir granted a boon to the Mujavars-' 
that their line of descent would never fail for 
want of their heirs, and that their heirs 
would always be his attendants. - 

The same night the Pir informed the 
Khojas of Keshod and Kutiana that his corpse 
and that of his Mujavar follower lay- 
unburied at a particular spot. The Khojas, 
accompanied by the Rabari Almora, visited 
the place in the morning and made ready tO' 
carry the corpses to Junagadh. They found 
to their astonishment that the corpses could 
not be removed. Almora then recollected the 
request of the Pir, and told the Khojas of 
his favourite place- The corpses were then 
carried to their present place of rest, and all 
efforts of the Khojas to proceed further 



The Schoolmaster of Dhhank. 



2 The Schoolmaster of Ganod. 



60 



THE VOLKLOliE OF GUJARAT 



proved unavailing. At that time tlierc was 1 
a. village called Keralun about a uiik- from 
the present site of Ganod. It is, howevtr, 
iiiiinliabited and in ruins and its site is now 
known as tlir limho of Keralun. The 
Kliojas iTtcUil a sliriuc over tlic place where 
tlie Tir was buried, and the tombs of his 
relatives were afterwards erected in tiie 
vicinity. Vows observed in honour of the Pir 
having proved I'ruitful in many cases, the 
Pir's fame spreads wider every day. The j 
<ii>ndal Durbar lias frranled a niidi (a piece | 
of land) for the maintenance of the 
Mujavar family, who also receive tlu! Hiings ! 
that are oft'ered to the Pir. The Khojas 
consider it a merit to dedicate a portion of 
tlieir earnings to this Pir. People of all 
<'astcs from Ganod offer one Aoci* at the j 
time of the marriage of a girl at their house. 
The knots of tlie marriage-scarves of newly- 
widded couples are untied here, and the ! 
ceremony of shaving children for the first 
time is also performed in the presence of 
the Pir. The usual offering to the Pir 
<'onsists of churamu and kansiir ; some 
people, liowever, offer a goat or a ram and 
call it piinechednariel,'^ 

There is a hollow log of wood on the 
boundary of Lath, a sub-village of Gondal 
and a mile to the South of Ganod. Long ago 
a fakir, while accompanying a band of out- 
laws hdri'dliiis, was killed in a scuffle and 
w.as buried here. A hilbiil tree grew over 
his tomb, and came to be known afte.rwards 
as Lakkad Pir (the wooden Pir). The tree 
after a time withered till its stem was 
reduced to a small log with a hole in the 
centre. People observe vows in honour of 
this Pir for the cure of cough and bronchitis 
in children. After recovery, the children 
are made to pass through this bakan or hole 
and an offering of kansar is made to the Pir. 
It is not only the Musalmans who observe 



vows in the Pir's honour : Hindus also have 
the same strong faitii in liim.' 

Nearly twelve miles from V.mod Uls the 
temple of Bechra Mata, who is the patron 
goddess of the Pavaiya sect. A male bufl'alo 
is olfrrcd to her as a victim on the 15th day 
of the bright half of every month. Near 
tin- temple there is the holy hiiittl of Man- 
sarovar, the legend about which lias already 
been related in these notesf 

The village of Dadvi possesses the shrine 
of Mangalshii Pir. Friday is the day for 
special worship of the Pir, when dainties 
and eocoanuts are offered, and a flag is 
hoisted. Frankincense is burnt <'very even- 
ing.- There is also a temple of ^Machiio, 
the goddess of the Bharvads, who offer her 
lapsi and eocoanuts on every bi j day. They 
also light a ghi lamp and lop off the ears of 
a goat or .-i ram, and offer the blood to the 
goddess. - 

In Kolki a bdi'ii of the Bharvad caste 
named Hado Bhagat is said to have set np 
the images of all the gods in a certain 
temple. It is believed that he possessed 
miraculous powers. His deeendants do not 
sell goats to Kasiiis (butchers-'). 

There is a temple of Khodiar Mata in 
Chok. The goddess is worshipped by Atits, 
who offer her Itipsi on every Uasara day. 
There is also a temple of Hanuman, where 
the Khakhis bring an offering to the god 
every Saturday-. * 

In the village of Mota Devalia are the 
temples of Bholanath, JSIahadev and Pipa- 
leshwar Mahadev. Both the deities are 
worshipped by Atits, who perform the cere- 
mony with the usual materials of frank- 
incense, a ghi-lamp, cooked food, and who 
also blow a conch. It is said about Pipalesh- 
war Mahadev that none can stay at night in 
the temple. Once a Brfdiman, who insisted 
on passing the night there, was hurled to a 



' The Schoolmaster of Ganod. 2 Xhe Schoolmaster of Dadvi. 

' The Schoolmaster of Kolki. * The Schoolmaster of Chok. 

* I\cri may mean either a new garment or an unused earthen jar. t See p. 42 Supra. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJAUAT 



61 



distance of two fields. Tl.cre is also a river Vansal. TIk- Bral>macharis' of the 
temple of Swimi-Narayan and thro- temples .Swa.ni.\r.rAyan seet hold a fair Hure and 
of Thakorji where the eeniuo.iy of worshi,. r.ffVr pra.y.rs to Hanuuir.n on tlu- 15th dav 
is pcrforiaed every morning and .Aoning- i„ „f t|,,- dark half of Bhadrapad." 
the usual way wth frankineense. a gin lamp. Krery marriage-proeesJion on its way to 

and arati. Thi- shrine of Nila-Plr on th< 
village boundary is revered alike bj' Hindus 
and Musalmans.' 



In the vicinity of Cidiatrasa, tiiere is 



and from the piaec of marriage has to otter 
a new earthen jar to sueii lield-deities as 
Dadmokhodiar, I.Alo, Hardas, <te. Failure to 
do so arouses til,' wrath of these deities and 



temple of Kishordas Hanuman. On Kali- brings disasters to the married couijle. The 

Chautlax day the people of the village offer on'.v form of worship in us(' for these deitic* 

churamu and vadun to tiie god. 'i'lie shrine 's to apply red had and oil to tlu ir imao-e.s 

of Gebalasha Pir is situated Iw.o miles away ■^'uven kinds of eorn, ((.:. addd (phaseolus 

from Chhatrasa, on the boundary line between •"■idiatus), mag (phasioliis niuiigo), /i-oZn/A; 



that village and Kalan.'i. Sweet-balls, or 



III (I III 



, cliani't (gram), wheat and ./«!■«»■<■ are 



sometimesoulymolasses, are offered to this Pir '""X'd and eooked tog<ther and the prepara- 

ou the fulfilment of vows observed in his ''"" "'"'<•'' '•* ealled khichdi is ottVred 

name. N'ear the village gates lies the shrine *" ""' ''"'1'^'* at sunset. If th<- d.'iti<s 

of Uaudshah, of w-lioni it is said that he ■'"■'• ""' l""<>P't'-'t"'J '" this manner, tliey ,ire 
deprives thieves of their eye-sight, if thev 
try to enter Cidiatrasa. In the Vishiui- 

maudir, annakuf^ is offered to Vishnu by the ^" ' '''" "*'"" '^'" ^'Hage of Patanvav 

attendant priest, oil I he first day of the bright '^''*''"^' '* •' temple of Matajt, where a ghi 



believed to do harm to the peojile of the 
village.' 
On a 



half of Kfirtik,- 

A temple of Kliodiar .Mata surrounded bv 
Pandari creepers is to be seen on the way 
from Mojidad to .Sauka. The Thakor of 
Limbdi used to kill a goat before the goddess 
during the Navaratra holidays ; but an 
offering of lapsi is now substituted for 
the goat. There is another temple of the 
same goddess on the way to Zabfda where 
she is worshipped by the Bhadkav;! Durbar. 
The attendants at both plaees are Atits, and 
the usual offering consists of liipsi and Ichir^'f 
At a place near the boundary-line between 



lamp is kept constantly burning at the cost 
of tl»e Goudal Durbar. In Patanvav itself 
there is a shrine of Ahaba Pir attended 
upon by a fakir. .\t the a|)proaeh of the 
monsoons, all the villages offer lapsi to 
Mataji and churamu to the Pir." 

In Paj, near Sultanpur there is a shrine 
of Gebansh.a Pir surrounded by a number of 
biibhul trees ; and it is said that if a person 
were to cut any of tJie trees, he would meet 
with death or at least fall ill. There is a 
cobra deity, called Khetalo, near Sultanpur 
whose gors (attendant priests) are Nagmaga 
Brahmans. It is believed that this deity 



Mojidad and Ayarda, Swai.ii-Narayan Bhag- confers once on each generation of the gors^ 
wan and Sahajanand Swami are said to have ; as much wealth as woidd suffice for the life- 
bathed in the company of Hanuman in the j time of all men of that generation." 



' The Schoolmaster of Mota Devalia. 

' The Schoolmaster of Mojidad. 

' The Schoolmaster of Patanvav. 

•:» .\n offering of all sorts of dainties and vegetables. 

t Milk and rice boiled together and sweetened with sugar. 

+ /. e. persons who have taken the vow of celibacy. 



- The Schoolmaster of Chhatrasa. 
* The Shastri of Jetpur, PathashiilA 
^ The Schoolmaster of Sultanpur. 



62 



TUK I O/.KI.ORH or GU.IAU AT 



Tlifri- is M temple ot" Undiii.tt ii> H;iiuiiiiriii of all iH-lioldeT.-., the .inini.il at once got up. 
about half a mile to the w.sl of Luvaria. A Prithwi RSj got rid of his leprosy by tlw 
A'rtHbj of tli<- Dhaiii tribe once, wliili- pursued favour of Rajbai, who arranted him an 
by robb<r.s, took shelter behind the image of additional boon that she would come to help 
Hanuuian and vowed that lie and liis descen- liini on another occasion if he remembered 
dants would discharge priestly duties towards her and sought her assistanei . Kajbai then 
the "od if he escaped safely out of the ' directed him to visit Dwarka. Long after, 
ditticulty. The god protected liiin in his \ king I'rithwi Uaj, wlien lie was at his own 
danger, and his descendants an now the i place, remembered lu r in a moment of 
recognised attendants at the temple.' distress, and sh< went there (in spirit) after 

The villag,- of An. .1, possesses the holy i g'^'ng instructions to her relatives not to 
lomb of Drvalshah Pir. This Pir lived in | 'i'sp"^' of her body, as she would return 
the 15th century and was a native of Ahmed- •*"<>"• ^ut the relatives did not understand 



:ibad. He had come to ser\e in the Amaran 



her, and before siie had returned from 



Ihnna, when he w.is killed in a battle. A j I'rithwi Rfija's placr, her body was disposed 
toinl> was built over his body, and he soon 1 "f according to the usual manner. For this, 
tame to be regarded as a Pir. His name Kajbai cursed her relatives tbat one of their 
became famous wlicn a blind Bharvad { descendants in each degree would turn out a 



regained his eye-sight throiigii Jiis favour. 
The Pir also gave a son to a Bania from 



Kinatie. In her memory a pillar was raised 
and ail imag( set up, both of wh^eh are 



Ahmedabad who visits the tomb every year ; worshipped every morning and evening. 



in a black suit. Once .t Miana killed a cow 
and look refuge at the shrine of this Pir: 
bill the shrine spontaneously caught fire and 
he was burnt witli it. The present building 
was ere-etcd by the Hania, and the ladies of 
Ihe Jamsaheb's court have supplied silver 



Milk, sugar .and cakes are offered to her 
every morning in .1 thai or dish, and milk 
aiVd sugar every evening. There is a festi- 
val in honour of Rajbai during the Navaratra 
iiolidays." 

The temijle of Swami-Narayan at Charadwa 



gates and copper railings to it. The Jamsaheb ' contains the imiges of Shrikrishna, Baldev 

also presents hinkhah coverings for the tomb Radha, Rama, Lakshman and Sita. The 

every year. On the night of the Uras (or ceremony of (irati is performed before the 

the fair held in the Pir's honour) sandalwood 1 images fivt times every day. The first is 



is iiurnt before the Plr." 

Charadwa is well-known for the temple of 
Rajeshwari Mata. King Prithwi Raj Cho- 
haii suffered from white leprosy and was 
once going to Dwarka, with the hope that 
residence in the holy city would cure him of 
his disease. On the wa}', one of his best 
bullocks suddenly fell. The animal was al- 
most given up for dead when a young woman 
named Rajbai, daughter of Uda Chiiran, 



called mungalSrati or the auspicious arati 
and is performed early in the morning. The 
second is Shaiigur (Shringdr) arati, when 
night garments are taken off the images and 
new ones arc ))ut on for the day. The third, 
lidjbJilog arati, takes place at the time when 
dainties and cooked food are offered to the 
gods. The Sandhya arati follows the offer- 
ing of milk, sugar and cakes to the gods in 
the evening. The last, Pidhdn arati^ is 



happened to pass by while carrying- water in performed at night, when night garments arc 
earthen pots. Rajbai touched the bullock , substituted for the rich dresses of the day. 



with one of her toes, and to the astonishment 



There are five occasions during the year 



The Schoolmaster of Luvaria. 



" The Schoolmastor of Amnn. 



Ttie Schoolmaster of Charadwa. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



G:; 



when a fair is held at this place : (1) tho 
Annakut fair on the rirst day of Kartik ; 
(2) Vasantapanchami fair, on the fifth day 
of the bright half of Mfigh ; (3) Hutashani 
■or Holi fair, on thi- 15th day of the hriglit 
half of Plialgiin ; (4) Kfimanax ami fair, on 
tlie 9th day of the bright Jialf of Cbaitra, 
|5) Jamnashtaoii fair on tfii 8tli day of 
-the dark half of Shravan.' 

To the north of Cliaradwa tli<re is a field- 
goddess, named Motisari Meldi Mata in 
whose honour persons who arc afflicted by 
diseases take a vow- of presenting a faid (a 
cake fried in oil in a pan). There is also a 
serpent-god named Charmaria who receives 
an offering of lapsi on every Aso-stid-bij, 
i. e,, the second day of the bright half of 
Ashvin.^ 

Besides tluse there are four temples of 
Shiva, one of Shaktimata, one of Hanumanji 
and two Mihomedan Pirs in the village.* 

In Limbdi Taluka, there is a temple of 
KalikT Mata, in whose honour vows are 
•observed by persons sutt'ering from pliysical 
-or mental afflictions. The attendant at the 
placo is a Brahman, and the worshippers of 
the Mata visit her temple on a Sunday or a 
Tuesday and offer sweetmeats or /n/j.s/. On 
the eighth day of Ashvin a haraii is made 
(i. e,, offerings arc burnt) before th<' god- 
dess. - 

Vows in honour of Khodiar Mata are effi- 
cacious in the prevention of such epidemics 
as cholera. The Khiyado ^lamo quells evil 
spirits, bkiits and prets. The Khodo Mamo 
cures such diseases as cough and bronchitis. 
In tlie temple of Ramnath, a brahmabhoj — a 
feast to Brahmans — is given on the last day 
of Shravan.- 

Near the western gates of Zinzuwada is 
seen the celebrated shrine of Rajbiii Mata. 
In old times Zinzuwada was only the tiehado* 
of a Bharvad called Zunza. At that time 



the queen of tile reigning prince of Patau 
could not be deliAered of a child even though 
two years had passed since the time of con- 
ception. Once while on tour the queen's 
part}' encamped near the nehiido of Zunza 
Bharvad. The latter, when he learut of the 
queen's misiortuiie, said that the co-wives of 
the queen had bewitched her by the kfnnuii 
art, I. ("., by Jiassiug an earthen pot round her 
and by burying the pot underground with a 
live frog hanging with its head downwards 
in it. He added that the queen would not 
be delivered unless the frog was brought 
out by some stratagem. He aslved the queen 
and iuT followers to stay there for some time, 
and sent word to Patan with: a messenger 
that the queen was deli\ ered of a son. The 
co-wives of the queen, dismayed at the unex- 
pected news aiul at the futility of the Jeanian 
art, went to look at the buried frog, wliich 
instantly jumped out and at the same mo- 
ment the jjregnaut (pieen gave birlh to a 
son. As the child was brought to birth by tin- 
instructions of a "Siddha-piirusha (a magician), 
it was named Siddharaj. The town of Zin- 
zuwada was built in memory of Zunza Bhar- 
vad, and a temjjle of Rajbili Mata w.as erect- 
ed in honour of the queen. A large lake 
named Sensasar was also constructed in 
memory of Sensa, the brother of Zunza." 

Soon afterwards people began to observe 
vows in honour of Rajbai Mata. The devo- 
tees of the goddess visit her temple every 
evening. All newly-married couples in tiie 
village offer salutations to the Mritil accom- 
panied by hired musicians and a party of 
women who sing on the way to the shrine. A 
virgin walks in front of the party with an 
earthen pot and a coeoanut on her head. 
After the salutations, sweetmeats to the 
amount vowed for are distributed among all 
those who are present. Sometimes a woman 
who has observed vows for the sake of a son. 



1 The Schoolmaster of Charadwa. 
' The Schoolmaster of Zinzuwada. 



" The Schoolmaster of Limbdi Taluka. 
Neliado is the residence of Bharvads or shepherds 



64 



THK FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



presents a silver umbrella to the goddess, of 
tlie value of one rupei- and a quarter or Hvo 
rupees and a quarter, on the birth of a son to 
lier. Uiinit offerings and laps'i are [)resented 
to the god<less to protcet I he town from such 
misfortunes as cholera, plague, etc.' 

There, is n well-known place called 
X'achhda-solanki about eight miles from Zin- 
ziiwada. Once a Rajput boy. aged sixteen, 
was going round the marriage -altar at liie 
time of his wedding, in the village of Knar, 
when he heard a piteous cry from a distressed 
cowherd, whose cows were being carried away 
by freebooters. The boj' immediately ran to 
rescue the cows ; but he was killed in the 
encounter. A temple was built on that spot 
in his honour. There is a small kund near 
the temple, the water in which is believed 
never to dry up and to possess the (piality of 
curing hydropliobia. 

Goradia Hanuman lies three uiiies from 
Zinzuwada, and there is a tradition that there 
is a treasure hidden near by. Many vows 
aro observed in honour of Diiama Hanuman, 
whose place is at a distance of two miles 
from Zinzuwada.' 

The holy kund of Zilanand is one mile 
from Zinzuwada, It is a custom of tlie neigh- 
bourhood to throw the bones of deceased 
i)ersons into this kund^ and a fair is held 
annually at the place on the last day of 
Bhadrapad. The Bhotavo kund is one mile 
distant from Zilanand kund; the bottom of 
this kund presents ;i bluish api)earanec, and 
the water always remains liot. It is said 
that there are sulphur mines below. ^ 

A princess of Marwar used to worship live 
gods : Sumaria Ganesh, Kanaknath, Katnesli- 
war Mahadev, Nagnath and Hanuman ; and 
she had taken a vow never to take food before 
she had worshipped all of them. The gods 
followed her everywhere in all her tours, but 
they had madeone condition, that they would 
stop if she looked behind at them on the way. 



The princes.s happened to look back .at Ganpati 
on the ridge of .'^umaria near Keshia. three 
miles to the east of Jodia. ."^o (i.anpati would 
not leave Sumaria, and w;is installed there 
as Sumaria Ganesh. Tin- s.ami' happened 
to Itatneshwar near I5.uianpnr '. to Kanak- 
nSth, at a place midway between Kanakpuri 
(the modern Kunad) ami B.'idanpur; and t(v 
Hanuman, near Kunad. in the same man- 
ner, Nagnath wasinslalic-d n( ar the Balambha 
gate of Jodia, The old town of Kanak]>uri 
was buried by an earth-cpiake, and the 
image Kunadia Hanum.an was found among 
its ruins. 

The attendants of Sumaria (ianesh arc 
Atits. A fair is held there on the 4th day 
of \'aisliakh, when thousands of Dheds Hock 
to the place. The usual offering to the god 
consists of sweet balls. Kanaknath is attend- 
ed upon by Atit Biivas who share among 
themselves whatever is offered to the god. 
Shaivas hold a fair here on tite b^th day of 
the dark half of Shravan. 

The devotees of Kunadia Hanuman observe 
anagh (vulgarly called anrigodha) at his 
place on Saturdays. They cook their food 
there and make offerings to the god before 

I partaking of it, fasting afterwards for the 
day. The anagh is observed in the month 
of Margashirsha The attendants of this 
god are Khrdchi Bjiviis.- 

Oiie mile to the north-wist of Jodia, 
towards the sea, there is n stone image of ;i 

I borse set up on a pedestal, known as Itaval 
PIr. A heroic Gir.asia of the Dal sect, 
named Rfival, was once shipwrecked while on 
an expedition from Cutch, and is said to have 

, landed at the spot where Kaval Pir stands 
at present. He received a hearty reception 
at the hands of the then ruling prince of 
Jodia (who M-as a Khavfis) and was installed' 
in the Durbar as Nana Rslval Pir. 

On the second day of the bright half 
, of Asliadh (which is the new year's day 



' Tlio Schoolmaster of Zinzuwada 



Tlie Schoolmaster of Jodia. 



THE FOLKLORE OF 'GUJARAT 



65 



according to the Halari year) Hindus offer 
lapsi to Raval Plr as also on each Monday in 
the month of Bhiidiapad. On occasions of 
popular distress, sncli as the breaking out of 
cholera or wlirn the rains stop for 
days together, the bhuwas at the place, who 



that he would find half a rupee every morn- 
ing in the temple unlil he saw and partook 
of the new harvest. In the month of Shra- 
van, he happened to partake of some new 
seeds and the coin could not be found as 
usual after this, although the new harves 



are Dal Rajputs, receive i\ie pedi (a small | was not quite ready till three months after 
Iieap of lapsi) ou behalf of the Pir, and j wards. At the entreaties of the bhuva, how- 
being possessed, declare the will of the Pir ever, the ^latil again told him in a dream 
as to when rain may be expected or when ' that he would find a silver anklet, weighing 
an epidemic will be warded off. Persons i 60 tolas, on the bhog/ivil (village boundary) 
who are anxious for the success of their un- | of the village of Shiyani. A number of vows 
dertakings observe vows in honour of the PTr | are observed in honour of this goddess with 
which may cost them anything from a single various motives. - 

pice to twenty-five rupees. At the shrine of The Shakta Mata in the western part of 

Nana Raval Pir, huge kettledrums are beaten i the same village prevents the Joganis or 
and the ceremony of «)V(^; Is performed every female fiends from spreading contagious 
morning and evening.^ j diseases.- 

The present site of Lilapur was formerly The Surdhans near the gates of Lilapur 

uninhabited, and the village stood nearly one represent two heroes who were killed in an 
mile off. Once the goddess Bhavani directed j encounter with freebooters in the Sarnvat 
the patel of the village in a dream to reside I year 1836 (1780 a. d.). The knots of the 
on the present site, and promised him that ho ' marriage-scarves of the descendants of the 
Would be always happy and that iu)nc of his , Surdhans arc untied before thent, and any of 



descendants for seven generations would die 
of cholera. In testimony of the reality of 
the dream a box of red lac, a cocoanut, a reel 
of red thread — called uaddsddi and chunadi 
— were found under the patel's pillow. The 
village was then removed to its p^resent site. 
The descendants of the patel are called 
Yadoda. The ^lata chose to take a Bharvad 
to be her attendant. On the 15th day of the 
bright half of Shr.'ivan offerings are burnt 
before the Mata, when the attendant hhtivd 
his to offer sweetmeats ^v?orth five rupees. 



their female descendants visiting the images 
without a veil on their faces, are subjected 
to serious calamities.- 

About tein years ago Unad Bhagat and 
Jiva Bhagab of Paliad were one day walking 
together, when Unad Bhagat collected seven 
stones and placing them one over the other, 
said to Jivii Bhagat that he was constructing 
a pdliOj i, e., a tomb for Jiva, Immediately 
Jiva died, and Uniid had to carry out what 
was merely meant in jest. Some rooms are 
built at the expense of the Jasdan Durbar, 



Every Bharviid family spends a rupee and a | and a pitjdri d.iil.v offers worship to Jiva 

Bhagat. A fair is also held in his honour 
on the second day of Bhadrapad.'' 

About two miles from Jasdan in the village 
of Bakhalvad there is a temple of Avad 
Matii. Tlie latter represents the queen of 
escape from starvation, when th: goddess one of the rulers of Jasdan, On every 
appeared in a dream to him, and told him Vijaya-dashami, i. e., the lOtfi day of the 



quarter every third year in honour of the 
Mata. 

During tlie famine of the year 1895 
Samvat era (=1839 a. u.) tlie bhuvd was 
thinking of leaving the Mata in order to 



' The Schoolmaster of Go 33. 



' The Schoolmaster of Lilapur. 



3 The Schoolmaster of Jasdan. 



66 



THE FOLKLOUE Of GLJ.IUAT 



hriglit liair of Ashvin, tlic jirincc of Jasdan 
noes h) visit the image in a procession, offers 
lapsi to Avad Mfita, and then a feast is cole- 
liralcd. Formerly it was tlic custom to kill 
a buffalo before tlie goddess on this day: 
but only liipsi is now offered instead. It is 
usual to take some wine also on this 
occasion.^ 

On tiie Chitalia hill, two miles from 
.laijdan, there is a tenijile of Shilala, the god- 
dess of small-pox, where children who have 
lately recovered from that disease are taken 
to offer salutations to tlie goddess. Silver 
images of human eye, milk, sugar, curds, 
grapes, cocoanuts, a sheet of blank paper, 
and a number of other things aro presented 
to the goddess on such an occasion. Some 
[icrsons vow to visit the goddess with a burn- 
ing hearth on their heads. Such vows are 
discharged on a satem, i. <"., the 7th day of 
the bright or the dark half of a month. On 
Shili Sraem, the 7th day of the dark half of 
Shravau, there is a large gathering of people 
at the place.'- 

The village-gods of Uplcla are Kakshwar, 
Pragateshwar, Somnath, Nilkanth, Dadmo 
and Khctalio. Pragateshwar is said to have 
emerged from the earth of his own accord 
and is therefore called Swcii/amhhu (self- 
existent). The same is said about Nilkanth 
and Somnath also. The temple of Dadmo 
lies a little away from Upleta. Persons 
suffering from cough observe vows in his 
honour and partake of parched gram. There 
is a flevi near Pragateshwar before wliom a 
sacrifice is performed on the 9th day of 
the bright half of Ashvin, and cakes, bread, 
khichdi and khir are offered.- 

In Gondal there is a teniplo of Gondalio 
Nag and one of Nagnath Mahadev. Purr 
milk is the usual offering made to bolli tlic 
deities. Gondalio Niig is installed in Dur- 
b3rgadh and is white in appearance. Newly 



ui.irrird ci>ui>le3 of high class Hindus untie 
the knots of their marriage-scarves before 
this deit.v, in the DurbTrgadli there are 
tombs of seven ghorls with whose assistance 
the (Irst king uf (ioiidal is said to Iiave won 
ills erowii. There is also a family goddess of 
the Hliadeja Itajpufs in (ioiida] known as 
A>lii|)uri, a \ ow in wlio-e iioiiour is believed 
(i> I'liKil -ill desires.'- 

TIk re is a female spirit named Meldi in 

Movaiya who is worsliij)pe<l by hhiiveis on the 

I 14th day of the dark half of Ashvin. On 

Ihat day they heat oil in an iron pan and 

take out cakes from the burning oil with un- 

' protected hands. A goat and a cock are also 

sacrificed on this occasion, and the meat is 

1 partaken of in order to win the favour of the 

goddess.* 
j There is :i heda Iree near Movaiya about 
I which the following story is told. I^ong ago 
there was a kanhi (farmer) in Movaiva who 
used to see a boy moving in front of him with 
I an imeovered head whenever he was plough- 
ing his field. One day the hanbi lopped off 
the hair from the boy's head who followed 
i him to his home, entreating him to return the 
' lock of hair. The kanbi however did not 
j heed him, and concealed the lock of hair in a 
I jar containing gram. The boy then served 
j the haiihi as a fiehl-boy, wlien one day he 
was asked by his master to lake gram out of 
the .jar for sowing. The bov, who was a 
bhut^ found his lock of hair there, and when 
once he had obtained it, he took a very 
heavy load of gram to tlie kanbi and bade 
him good-bye. JJut before the boy had tied 
with his lock of liair, the kanJ>i beggid of 
him a boon that a bed(i tree sliould grow in 
his field, where vows eould be observed in 
honour of the bhnt .^ 

The villagers in Sayala accompanied by 
Several bhuviis and by niusieians who beat the 
dhols and the danklan go outside the village 



' The Schoolmaster of Jasdan. 

' The Schoolmaster of Ganilal Taluka and the I 

' The Schoolmaster of Movaiya. 



' The Schoolmaster of Upleta. 
lead Mi?'ress cf "kW school, Gondal. 



THE I'OLKLOHl: OF QLJ.LRAl 



67 



til vi.<it the temple of Kliodiar Mata on tlic 
Ijtii day of the briglil half of Shr.Txaii. 
'I'hc hhtivas wind a piece of cotton-thread 
riiuiid ihi- village, and sometimes pour out 
milk or water in the same place in order to 
Secure its safety from any epidemic. On 
the saiiii- oeca-iion four divers, wlio are gene- 
rally healthy young- athletes, are presented 
with in earth 11 pot eacli and are made to 
stvnd iu the village-tank till the water 
reaches to their necks. They are asked to 
dive simultaneously in the water at a signal 
from the headman of the village, and to get 
out inmiediately. Each of them is named 
after one of the four months of the rainy 
scHson and the amount of water in the pot of 
each is supposed to indicate the amount of 
rain which would fall in tlie respective 
months of the next year. After leaving the 
water tlie divers break the pots on the spot, 
and the fragments are taken away by the 
prople, to be kept in tlieir jars of corn, in 
the belief that they will bring jn-osperity 
in the ensuing season. The four divers are 
then made to run a race on the maidan^ and 
he who wins the race gets a small plough 
and a cocoanut as a prize. The winner is 
called halino-jUijo^ and it is believed tliat lie 
will he successful in all his undertakings. 

On the same day the bhuvas place a small 
four-wheeled chariot of the MItl outside tJie 
village, and it is believed that the cliariot- 
carries off the plague, cholera and similar 
diseases with it. Such ceremonies are per- 
formed In most of the villages on the Balev 
holiday (J. e., the Nurel-Purnima day, or 
tile 15th day of the bright half of Shra- 
vaa).i 

The foundation of a new settlement is 
carried out in various waj-s. A series of un- 
usual accidents befalling the residents of a 
village makes them doubtful of the security 



of their residence, and produces a desire to 
move to a safer home. Very often on such 
occasions tlie bhuvas or exorcists are possess- 
ed by the Devis, or Miitas, and declare the will 
of the gods regarding a new settlement. 
Sometimes a change of home is recommended 
tot he villagers in a dream : sometimes a 
heavenly voice is said to direct the change, 
in addressing one of the villagers.-' 

An astrologer has first to be consulted as to 
the auspicious date on which the boundaries 
of the new settlement should be marked out. 
Tliree or four days before the delimitation, 
learned Brahmans are sent to purify the 
chosen site by the recitation of sacred 
mantras. ' On the appointed day the headman 
of the village leads a procession to the site, 
and performs the ceremony of installing the 
village gods. It is said that, at the time of 
founding a new settlement, it is iicccssarv to 
install and worship the panch-deia or the 
five deities, naiiiely, Hanainan, Ganpati, 
Maludev, Vishnu and Devi. Hanuman is 
installed at tlie village-gates, and is prcjii- 
tiated with an offering of churmu ,iiid vaddn. 
The images of (j.inpati and Vi.shnu are set 
up in a central place in the village, temples 
being built for them in due course. !Mahadev 
is generally installed on the village-boundary 
and has a temple built for him afterwards. 
Devi may be set up anywiiere: her installa- 
tion is not permauent nor dees she recei> e 
systematic worship.* But more generally 
only Ganpati, Hanumaii and Matii are 
installed on this occasion.^ Occasionally 
other deities, such as the Earth, Shesh Nag,'" 
the Navagrah (the nine planets), the pole- 
star and Kshetrapil are also worshipped." 

The village-gates are fixed after the cere- 
mony of installation, and a torar. — a string of 
asopalav leaves (Jonesia asoka) with a cocoa- 
nut in the centre — is fastened across them 



' The Schoolmaster of Sayala. 2 k_ -£,_ Pesai. 

" The Schoolmaster of Khirasara. ' The Schoolmaster of Chhatras;'. 

■' The Schoolmasters of Jodia and Khirasara. *• The Schoolmaster of Rajpara. 

* The celebrated serpent of one thousand heads who supports all the worlds. 



68 



Ttli: l-OLKLORE OF (IL.'.lli.lT 



near the top.* Hi.tc tlic ceremony of khat. 
muhurl* is perforiueil- and afterwards the 
lieadman, accompanied l>y i Hr.ihiuan, who 
recites mantras, either winds a eotlon-thread 
besmeared with red lae round the village or 
pours a stream of milk (Iharavatli along tlic 
village boundaries. ■• The headman has fur- 



n imed after the particular incident whicli 
drove the people to seek tlnir new homi .' 

A failure of the harvest is in most cases 
due to the irregularity of the rains. It is 
therefore ascribed to the displeasur< of 
Indra, the god of rain, and Varuna, th< god 
of water. The mode of ])ropitiatinjjr tliesi 



ther to perform the homa at the gates of the gods has already been described. 



village, when a company of Urahmans recite 
lioly passages in honour of H.'inumTn and 
Mitl. .\t the time of the completion of the 
/lomfl, when the (Vmil (an oblation of ghi) 
is thrown on the fire, all persons present offer 
cocoanuts to the sacrificial (ire.' 

In some places it is usual to worship the 



Sometimes a cessation of rains is attribu- 
ted to the wralh of the village-gods, where- 
upon the festixal of Ujiim is celebrated in 
order to appease them. One day, preferably 
a Sunday, all the inhabitants go outside tin 
village, and rich viands are cooked to be of- 
fered to the village-gods. At the same time, 



...wly chosen site itself, and then to drive I the headman performs a /loma sacrifice and 



into the ground a wooden jieg besmeared 
with red lac, called the Ichili (peg) of Shesh 
Nag, which is first ceremoniously worshipped 
with red lac, sandal-ointment and rice.'' 

After these ceremonies, th(' villagers are 
at liberty to build tlieir own houses within the 
neWi settlement. When the houses are com- 
plete and ready for habitation, it is necessary 
to perform the ceremony known as vastun 
(or graha-.shdnli) for the j)ropitiation of the 
nine planets, Uotli the day of installing the 
jr»wJ»-arrd the day of vastun eereuionj-, are 
obseived as festivals, at which Hr:ihmans are 
feasted, and U'lpsi, chiiDnii .and fittiisar are 
offered to the gods.*^ 

The new settlement may be named after 
(he deity whose advice brought about the 
move or after the headman. It is sometimes 



the dainties are partaken of after the villagers 
have thrown cocoanuts into the sacrificial fire. 
In similar circumstances people someliniis 
seek the protection of the gods Annadcx.i, 
Annapfirua, and Kriya Bhaudai. Six doktldst 
or six pice are collected from every house 
in the village to make wliat is called i 
chhalcadi^ .".nd the whole amount is then bes- 
towed in charity in the name of tin- abovi - 
inamed deities.' 

Rain during the Ashlesha and Majjiia nak- 
sh.ttrjts* is destrnctrve to the crops, and is a 
sign of the wrath of Indra, who should In 
appeased with sacrificial offerings.'' 

Diseases among cattle are believed to be 
brought on by the wrath of minor deities 
such as Shitala Maliakali" or the sixty-four 
Jogants.^'J§ The hhiivds^ when ihey an- 



2 The Shastri of Jetpuf Pathashrilfi. 

* The Schoolmasters of Clihatrasa and Jeipur 

<! K. I). Desai. 

8 Tlie Shastri of Jetpur fathashaKi. 
'« The Schoolmaster of Dadvi. 
t 100 ilol;iias = l rupee. 



1 The Schoolmasters of Chhatrasa and Rajpara. 

3 The Schoolmasters of Khirasara, Jetpur and Rajpara. 

5 The Schoolmaster of Jodia. 

' The Schoolmaster of Clihatrasn. 

5 Tlie Schoolmaster of Kotda-sangani. 

* Vide Cliapter 1., p. 2'J. 

% Tlie time taken by the sun to move through the constellalions Ashlesha and Magha, which is appro.\i- 
mately the month of .'\ugust. 

•§ Generally the same ideas prevail regarding diseases of cattle .is in the c.\se of human ailments. Doni-i 
or magical tl reads and slips ol paper are often used in cases of fever. In epidemics like cholera polKi- 
tion is believed to be at the root of the evil. Bhangis are engaged to prepare images of corn to keep 
oH' the disease, and they forfeit their homesteads and property if the epidemic is not checked thereby. 
— The Schoolmaster of Barton Female Training Collcjie-, Rajkot. (These images represent evil 
spirits presiding over particular diseases. Certain oblations are offered to these evil spirits, and after 
the recital of certain incantations they are either burnt or buried.) 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



69 



possessed, declare to the people which par- 
ticular deity is exasperated, whereupon that 
deity is conciliated eitlier by ofiVriug dain- 
ties or a goat or a ram, or by the observance 
of Ujatti, A dharavadi — -a stream of milk — 
is poured on to the ground adjoining the 
village side, and torans of dsopdlav leaves 
(Jonesia asoka) are fastened on tlie doors 
of the offended deity's temple.^ It is also 
customary to place Ixikltln and vadiln at 
a spot where tliree roads meet in order to 
propitiate the evi! spirits, who freipient sueh 
jilaces. -' 

Small-pox is supposed to be tiu' result of 
the displeasure of the goddess Shitala. In all 
cases of small-pox the victim is left to suH'er, 
the only remedy being the observation of 
vows in honour of the angry goddess. 
Diiferent things are dedicated to the goddess 
according as the disease affects one part of tlie 
body or another ; and tliey are usually offered 
on a Sunday or a Tuesday, The usual offer- 
ing consists of kulera* a '«»' (a slieet of 
paper), fried juviiri, fried gram, and other 
articles varying according to the symptoms.-' 

To ward off this disease the women of the 
village sometimes prepare cakes, gdnthids^f 
etc., on tlie sixth day of a month, the 
preparations being partakein of on the next 
day, when no fresh food is to be cooked.'' 

KJiaravS affects tlie hoofs of cattle, in 
which it produces irritation; it is generally | 
due to worms in the hoofs. A jantra (a 
mystical arrangement of words) of the twelve 
names o'f Mahavir (the great warrior, i, e. 
Arjun)is written on a piece of paper, and 



tied round the neck of the diseased animal, 
fastened over tlie gates through wliich the 
cattle pass, or suspended over the street by 
which the cattle go out to graze, ^' The jantra 
is as follows: — 



Shrlsiikha 


Dh.iiiurdhari 


Griji<lh;iua| 


Krishna- 
saklia. 


Dhauanjaya 


Lal.1 iilarlvha 

+ 


Kapidhwaj. 


Jayaliari. 


Gudakesh 


Pital)huva J Xarsinli 

1 


Parth. 



Sometimes the paper on which the jantra 
is written is placed in a liollow bamboo stick 
whicli is then fastened over the gates." 
The jantra is believed to have the i)ower to 
cure tlie disease. 

Mttvd-heshihi causes saliva to flow conti- 
nuously from tlie moutlis of animals. A 
gagarhediun (a [)iece of leather thong or a 
piece of black wood, on which magic spells 
have been cast) is suspended over the village 
gates or is tied to the neek of tlie animal, 
in the case of this disease occurring.' 

In sueli diseases as lihiiravd^ siinaku^ motit- 
dtikh ( lit. tlie great malady), valo, pet-tod,^ 
Bandhdi.javan,\\ a jantra is tied by a piece 
of indigo-coloured clotli or by a piece of 
thread of tlie same colour, round the neck 
of the animal, and is also fastened over bhe 
village-gates. A toran is prepared of the 
ears of jiivdri eorn witl^ a cocoanut in the 
centre, and after magical incantations liave 
been pronounced over it, is suspended over 
the village-gates. All animals passing under 
the toran are believed to he proof against 
the disease. 



- The Schoolmaster of Mota-Devalia. 
i The Schoolmaster of Kolki. 
" The Schoolmaster of Ganod. 



I The Schoolmaster of Dadvi. 
3 The Schoolmaster of Dhank. 
6 The Schoolmaster of Dhank. 
" The Schoolmaster of Kolki. 

* Small round cakes of wheat flour sweetened with molasses and fried in ghi. 

t A preparation of fine gram flour treated with spices, which after being made into a thick paste, is 

passed through a sieve into boiling oil. 
J Shrisakha, Gajidhana and Pitabhavfi are most probably corruptions of Shrishasakhfi, GSndivadhanvii 

and Prithabhava respectively ; Lalanliirkha perhaps of Lalama narakhya. 
§ A disease which causes severe pain in the stomach of the affected animal. 

II A disease which stiffens the limbs of animals and renders them incapable of any movement. 



70 



THE FOLKLORE OF aVJAKAT 



But if this is not successful in checking 
the course of tlic disease, it is usual to swallow 
the cheltins* of Muii;;! Mata ( thr Dunih 
Mother). I'or this piirpos) lh.< hliuii'i.i of 
tile -Mata, who arc Biiarvails, are invited to 
the stalls of tlie affected cattle, wlure they 
recite magic incantations amidst Iminiltii- 
ous shouts and yills. After tliistliey are fed 
with rice, ghi and sugar, this latter process 
being called ' swallowing tin: rhrliiiix of the 
Mata.'i 

In event of this process being of no avail 
in restraining Uie disease, tlie lieadman of 
the village in line company of iiis wife ]>er- 
forms a hovin saerifiee in liir places dedicated 
to the Matas, and ott'ers an tlhitti — -a sacrifi- 
cial oblation — when all the villagers dedicate 
cocoanuts to tlie sacrificial fire.- 

Sometimes the wrath of the god Clorakh- 
dev is supposed to be responsible for eattle- 
diseases. A bunch of the leaves of a poison- 
ous medicinal plant (inlcdo is passed seven 
times over the body of the ailing animal with 
the prayer 'May Gorakhdev be pleased,' 
and a cocoanut is dedicated to the god.' 

Another method of cheeking cattle-disease 
is to bury the corpse of an animal which 
has died thereof near the village-gates. 
It is believed that this puts a stop to any 
further deaths among cattle from the same 
disease.' 

When such a disease as nhiVi (small-pox), 
sahharado^ or Icharava prevails largely among 
cattle, a belief gains ground that the Dlieds 
(who flay the dead cattle and sell their 
hides) have })oisoned the drinking water 



of the cattle in order to increase their 
earnings.'' 

The god Kal-I)liaira\ was brought into 
existtiice I)y the fury of god Shiva, when 
h<-, bring extremely angry with Hrahmu, 
cut oil' till fifth head of the latter. Kal- 
l)liaira\ is the leader of all blhiits (ghosts) 
and ddkan.s (witdies), and resides at Kaslli 
(Uenares) by the order of Shiva. His 
favourite' liauiil is a eeiui'tery. His iinige is 
always represented as fierce and ugly." 

It is said that this god onct' entered the 
mouth of Gorakhnath and performed reli- 
gious austerities in tliat strange abode. 
Although Ciorakhuath was ni-arly sufl'ocated, 
he eiuild only persuade Kal-bhairav to comt 
out by extolling his glory and liy conferring 
on him the leaderslii)) of all bhufs and 
the guardianshi]) of the Kot\alu fortress at 
Kaslli." 

Kal-liliaira\ <lois not eoiuiiiaud worship on 
any auspicious occasion. On the otlier hand, 
he is much re\'ered by persons wlio practise 
the black art. On Ki'dt-chaudas day his devo- 
tees worship liiiii in a lemrtery, oH'er an 
oblation of IxiJilan^ and reeile iiiagie incanta- 
tions till late at night. ^ 

The offerings favoured by Krd-bhairav are 
l;hir,\ cakes of wheat flour, sugar and 
vadaii,^'^ The sacrifice of a live animal is 
also acceptable.^" The otl'ering after present- 
ation to the god, are giv<n to black dogs. 

Pregnant women in order to secure a safe 
delivery sometimes vow to abstain from ghi 
till they iiave offered an oblation to Kal-bhai- 
rav.ii 



" The Sclioolmaster of Kolki. 

* Ttie Sclioolmaster of Ganod. 

' Tlie Sclioolmaster of Moti Murad. 

' Tlie Schoolmaster of Jodia and Dodiala. 

lo The Schoolmaster of Patanvav. 



» The Schoolmaster of Kolki. 

3 The Sliaslri of Jetpur Pathashalfi. 

•'■ The Schoolmaster of Ganod. 

' The Schoolmaster of Chhatrasa. 

' The Schoolmaster of Aman. 

» The Shastri of Jetpur Pathashfila. 

* The word cliela in ordinai-y language means a pancake (ptnialo) of wheat or yiam, sweet or salt, and 
it is a favourite oblation to Matri. So the word chelan may have come to be used for any oblation to Matii 
and the expression swallowing the chelans may mean partaking of the oblation or offering of the Miiti. 

t Milk and rice boiled together and sweetened with sugar. 

:j: Vide page 48. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



71 



TI»e follo^^^n2 lines are ofton repeated in 
Iionuur of this god^: — 

^rrm^rstrftr^rM' ^3Frp7^r^ »rsr II >. II 

(I worsliip Kal-Winirav, the jiiver of food 
and of salvation, of auspicious and comely 
aj)pearancc, who is kind to lils devotees. ) 

Ganpati or Ganesh, about whose origin the 
traditional legends )>revail, is represented 
with four hands, in one of which lie lipoids a 
kamandalu (a gourd), in tiie second a }(idu 
(or a sweet-ball), in thi: ti»ird a panisha 
(or an axe), and in the fourlli a jap-intil 
(or a rosarj'). He. is sometimes called Duu- 
dalo (lit., big-bcUicd) because of liis having 
a protuberant belly. He puts on a yellow 
g.irment and rides a mouse. His brother is 
Kiirtik-swami who rides a peacock. His 
favourite dish consists of Indus or sweet-balls 
of wheat-flour fried in giii and sweetened 
with molasses. Siddiii and Buddhi are the 
two wives of Ganpati. Before their marriage 
their father Vishwarupa had made a promise 
that he would bestow the hands of both on 
whomsoever circumambulated the whole. Earth 
within one, day, Ganpati reasoned that a cow 
and a mother are equal in merit to the Earth 
and by passing round the former, he got the 
hands of both. Ganpati is said to be the 
fastest writer of all, so tlwt the sage Vyasa 
secured his services as a scribe, at the ins- 
tance of Brahma, in writing the Mahabharat, 
When RTivan had conquered all the gods and 
made them serve in his household, Ganpati 
had to become a cowherd and to look after 
cows and goats.- 

On Vaishakh sud clwth, known as Ganpati 
choth, i. e., the fourth day of the bright 
iialf of Vaishakh, Ganpati is ceremoniously 



worshipped with rod lead, red flowers, milk, 
curds, honey, etc. The image of the god is 
besmeared with red lead and ghi, and tiic 
remnant of tliis ointment is applied to the 
doors and windows of tlie house.'' Sweet- 
balls of wheat-flour fried in ghi and sweet- 
eui'd with molasses arc first dedicated to 
(ianpati and are afterwards partaken of as 
the god's gift.' 

The people of Maharashtra observe Gan- 
pati choth on the 4th day of the bright half 
of Hkadrapad, wlien an earthen image of 
(ianpati is made and worshipped with twenty 
kinds of leaves." 

It is a custom among the Vaishnavas to 
draw an image of Ganpati in those vessels 
which are to be used for cooking food at the 
time of performing the obsequies of a 
di'ceased Vaislinava.'' 

The Matrikfis are sixteen in number, and 
are worshipped on such auspicious occasions 
as a ;/a)na {i. r., a sacrifice), a wedding, or 
the ceremony known as vasliij Their in- 
stallation consists in painting the following 
marks with red lac on the back walls of a 
house. 



The marks are besmeared with molasses, 
and a little ghi and a piece of some precious 
uxetal is affixed to them.* At the time of 
a marriage, fourteen are worshipped in the 
house, one outside the village limits, and one 
near the front door of tbe house where the 
wedding is celebrated." 



' Tlie Schoolmaster of Dhh ink. 
3 The Schoolmaster of Kolki. 
5 The Schoolmaster of Dhhaiik. 
" The Schoolmaster of Aman. 
" The Schoolmaster of .\man. 



- The Schoolmaster of Barton Female Training College. Rajkot 
1 The Schoolmaster of Dhank. 
'■ The Schoolmaster of Jasdan. 
^ The Schoolmaster of Dhhank. 



72 



THE rOLKLDUE OE GUJARAT 



Thf Matrikfis or Matas arc w<)rsl»ippr<l 
during till' N'.-iv.iratra Iioliilays also. On tlii-. 
occasion small morins or lartlitii l)o\vls with 
a lioh- ill tli<: I'cntrc of cacli, arc plastered 
with khad'i. (red or jireeii earth ) and kayft; 
and young ij;irls carry Uuiii mi tiieir heads 
with burning' lamps from door Ijo door. At 
each house they receive oil for the lami) and 
a handful ol' corn. On the lisl day, J. <"., on 
the ninth day, all the howls are placed on 
the special site dedicated to the .\lalas. 
Tile sonsi's, which are .'ilso aei'oiiipMiiied hy 
dancing, are I'alled i^ardhi or i;iinihdj 

The -Matrlkas .'ire also supposed to he th< 
gnihax or planets which influence the life of 
a child in I he wonih, and their wors!ii[( is 
believed to bring about an easy di livery. - 

'riure is also a family goddess of the n.-ime 
of Matrika. In worshipping her, seven roinid 
spots are painted on a wall with red lac, and 
ghi is poured over them in such a manner 
as to form Hvc small relds (streams). A 
mixture of molasses and ghi is tlicn applied 
to these s[)ots with a piice of iitlachli (r( il 
cotton yarn). 15y this process the devotee 
secures till- motherly regard of the goddess.'' 

One of the deities which preside over 
child-birth is Randal Mata or Kanna Devi, 
who is said to be the wife of the Sun.^ In 
order to secure an easy delivery, pregnant 
■women take a vow that they will invite one or 
more lotas (bowls) of this Mata. The pro- 
cess of " inviting the lotnx" is as follow: — 

The lulls round the shell of a cocoaiiut 
arc pulled out, tin- ii'it is besmeared with 
chalk, and marks representing two eyes and 
a nose are' painted on it. (Or the nut is so 
placed that the Iwo spots on its surfa<'i' 
represent eyes, and the pointed tuft of fibres 
between them serves the purposi' of a nose). 
A bowl is placed on a piece of t'loth stret- 
ched on a wooden stool, and the cocoaniit 

' The Schoolmaster of Zinzuwada. 
' The Schoolmaster of Sanka. 
"' Tlie Sdioolmastev of Anandpiu-. 
• Also known as siiriis.atiis. 



is placed over the bowl. It is then dressed 

in ehgant female attire, and a ghi lamp is 
k<rpt I 'aiistantly burning near it. This com- 
pletes the sflinpini or installation of Randal 
Mata. Women how down before this re- 
presentation of the -Mata, and sing melo- 
dious tunes in its presence. On the morning 
of the following day, the image is carried 
to till- temple of' llu' village Mata, the cocoa- 
I nut is deposited there, and the garments are 
j brought home. The cocoanut is subsquenlly 
I taken by the Brahman attendant of the Mata. 
On the day of the installation it is custom- 
ary to iiuite five iO)'(7)i/'.v* (married women 
whose husbands are living) to a feast of 
/./(/;' .iiul cakes. On the next day, win ii tin 
I Mata is s<nt away, three virgins are enter- 
{ tuined with rice, sugar and milk.-' 

j In som(^ communities a custom prevails of 
"iiuiting the loltlx of the Mfitas " on tin- 
occasion of the first pregnancy of a woman. 
On the day on which the tolas arc to be in- 
vited, the pregnant woman takes a bath early 
in the morning, and calls upon thirteen ^or"- 
iiii\ wliom she iin ites to dinner by marking 
their foreheads with red lac. A Brahman 
is called to set up the Matas, whose installa- 
tion takes place in the same manner as that 
of Randal. The piece of cloth spread on 
tlu' wooden stool is required to be green. 
When the gordiiiii sit down to the dinn< r, 
the pregnant woman washes their riglit toes 
with milk and swallows that milk as charaii- 
umrit (lit. the nectar of the feet). The 
gori'uiii are recjuired to taste a morsel of 
some preparation of milk before they begin 
their meal. At night, a company of women 
dane<' in a circle round the Matiis, singing 
songs. Next morning a hhvvd is called, who 
declares the will of the Matas. On receiv- 
ing a satisfactory reply from the bhuva^ the 
party disperses.'' 

- Tlie Schoolmaster of Gaaoc!. 
' The Schoolmaster of Sanka 
'■ K. D. Desai. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



73 



The goddesses Bahucharaji (or Bechraji) 
and Ambaji are sometimes worshipped for 
the sake of safety during childbirth. The 
ceremony of Nandi-Shraddha wliich was 
performed when Rama was born is some- 
times gone through at the birth of a 
child.i 

The deities of the forest reside in groves 
of trees or near the Piludi tree, to which 
their devotees must go in order to fulfil their 
vows.2 These deities do not receive any 
formal worship. But they are noted for the 



cure of certain diseases, and tlie groves 
wliich thejr haunt are frequently visited by 
afflicted persons. These deities are installed 
in those places where they have manifested 
their powers.* 

There is a belief that if unmarried persons 
touch sindur or red lead, a cobra deity of 
the forest, Kshetrapal, takes them in mar- 
riage. But the danger can be averted by 
vowing to dedicate khichadi, red lead, a 
dokado* and some fruit to this god at the 
time of marriage.'* 



' The Schoolmaster of Jodia. 

5 Mr. K. D. Desai. 

* A ball of molasses and sesamum seeds mixed together. 



' The Schoolmaster of Kolki. 
• The Schoolmaster of Kolki. 



CHAPTER III. 
DISEASE DEITIES, 



Such diseases as cholera and small-pox 
are believed to be brought on by the wrath 
of the Matas or Davis caused by neglecting 
to offer the usual oblations. In order to 
propitiate thcni, Erahmans arc engaged to 
recite the Chandipdth and to offer havans 
(sacrificial offerings). Very of ten the festi- 
val known as njani is observed, in which all 
the villagers go outside the village to take 
their meals, and return home in the evening 
after witnessing the ahuti (the offering of 
cocoanuts to the sacrificial fire).* 

Another belief personifies the diseases as 
malin or evil spirits who are fond of human 
prey. To ward them off, a dhdra-vadi, or 
stream of milk, is poured out in the village 
or a magic thread is passed round. The 
chariott of the Mat;! is driven through the 
village with the same object. ^ 

There is a popular tradition that in ancient 
times cholera was subjugated by king 
Vikrama, and was buried underground. 
Once upon a time the British excavated the 
place in the belief that treasure was conceal- 
ed there, and thus cholera was released. 
After many soldiers had fallen victims, the 
disease deity was at last propitiated by an 
oblation, and was handed over to the Bhangis 
(or scavengers) - 



Tliis association of the Bhangis with cho- 
lera is present in most of the beliefs current 
about the disease. There is a story that once 
upon a time a number of students had put 
up in a house by which a Bhangi was in the 
habit of passing frequently. He daily used 
to hear the students reciting the sacred texts 
and this produced in liismind the desire to be- 
come a Sanskrit scholar. For this purpose, 
having concealed his low birth, he went to 
Benares and by diligent study, soon became a 
pandit. He even married a girl of higli caste. 
But his imposture being at last discovered, 
he burnt himself to death, and his ashes gave 
rise to the disease known as cholera.^ 

At the present day, if the epidemic breaks 
out, the Bhangis arc often suspected in some 
way or other of having brought it about. It 
is said that thcj' make statues of the flour of 
adad (pliaseolus radiatus) and after piercing 
them with needles and pins, either throw 
them into the wells which are daily used by 
the villagers + or bury them in a spot over 
which the people frequently jjass. The whole 
affair is managed very secretly and at the 
dead of night. The slightest rumour of such 
proceedings causes a tumult in the village, 
and the Bhangis are then in danger of being 
severely handled by the enraged villagers.* 



2 The Scliooimaster of joJii. 

* The Schoolmasters of Jodia, Dadvi, and Songadh, 



1 The Schoolmaster of Luvaria. 

3 The Schoolmaster of Kotda-Sangani. 

* Vide Question 19. 

t A. small wooden car five or six inches long is covered over with a piece of cotton cloth and the wooden 
image of a Mfita— Khodirir or Kfilku— besmeared with red lead is placed upon it. This rath or chariot of 
the Mfitfi is then passed through the village on the shoulders of a low-caste person, who begs corn from door 
to door and afterwards places the image at the gates of the neighbouring village. From thence it is removed 
by the people of that village to the next village and so on till it reaches the sea.— Mr. K. D. Desai. 

% Sometimes the statues of adad flour are besmeared with red lead and afterwards are boiled in dirty 
water. The whole of this preparation is then thrown into wells, the waters of which are used for drinking 
in the village. — The Schoolmaster of Songadh. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



75 



Another method by which the Bhangis are 
supposed to bring about cholera is to sprink- 
le the blood of a black cow on the image 
of Hanuman. The god is deeply offended 
at the insult, and in consequence spreads 
cholera in the neighbourhood. For this rea- 
son, offerings are burnt before Hanuman in 
order to stop an epidemic of cholera.^ 

Bhangis are also supposed by some to 
accomplish the same result by the help of 
malin or evil deities who are first gratified 
by the offering of victims.- One of sui;b 
deities is Ramdepir, to whom bali-ddn (offer- 
ing of a victim) is made by the people, 
through the medium of Bhangis, for the 
prevention of cholera. - 

An outbreak of cholera offers a good 
opportunity to the Bhangis, who extort dain- 
ties and small sums of money from the peo- 
ple. Persons attacked by cholera often seek 
the services of a Bhangi and promise him 
liberal gifts if they are cured. The latter 
generally treats his patients \>y tying a magic- 
al thread round their elbows.^ 

It is said that the Bhangis have to present 
an offering to their malin or evil goddess 
every third year, and that, in so doing, they 
kill a black animal before the goddess. 
They then place an iron pan full of sesamum 
oil on the fire, and suspend the body of the 
animal above it. It is believed that as 
many human beings ^vill fall victims to 
cholera as the number of the drops of blood 
that fall from the body of the animal into 
the iron pan.' 

Another deity whose wratli is supposed to 
be responsible for the breaking out of cholera 
is Mahamari Devi.^ The worshippers of 
this goddess are Bhangis. She is believed 



to send forth cholera when her oblations are 
stopi^ed," and her favour is regained by 
renewing the offer of these oblations. Some- 
times the N avachandi sacrifice is performed 
at the principal village-gates, and the chan- 
dipath is recited at the other gates. A 
number of Brahmans and virgins are also 
feasted, and presented with garments. A 
magic cotton thread is passed round the vil- 
lage and a dhdra-vadi, or stream of milk, is 
poured out. The bhuvds go round the vil- 
lage playing upon the harsh unpleasant dank. 
Ian. A goat is then taken to the temple of 
the Mata, and the bhuvas, after cutting out 
its tongue, dip their hands in its blood and 
strike them against the doors of the temple. 
The goat is then killed and Similar blood- 
marks are made upon every door in the vil- 
lage as well as on the village-gates, where 
an iron nail is driven into the ground with 
an incantation, A lime is then cut, and an 
oblation is offered to the Mata. Such a pro- 
cess is believed to stop the progress of the 
epidemic." 

Other deities connected in popular belief 
with cholera are the goddesses Visuchika'^ 
and Chandika.s Visuchika is conciliated by 
burnt offerings : the recitation of the cliandi- 
pdtK wins tlie favour of Chandika. There is 
also a giantess named Karkata who is sup- 
posed to be responsible for cholera. She. is 
said to have sprung from the sweat on the 
forehead of Brahma and to reside in the 
chandra mandal (or lunar sphere).^ 

One of the remedies adopted to stop an 
epidemic of cholera is to propitiate Shiva 
by the performance of Rudraydg* Mahd- 
rudra* SKatachandi* Homahavan and by 
bestowing gifts on Brahmans and other holy 



1 The School Master of Dadvi. 
3 The School Master of Jodia. 
5 The School Master of Movaiya, 
' The School Masters of Devalia and Vasavad. 
3 The School Master of Charadwa. 

* These are different sacrifices, the first two in honour of Shiva, the third in honour of the goddess 
Chandi. 



2 The School Master of Chhatrasa. 
* The School Master of Mendarda. 
8 The School Master of Vanod. 
8 The Shastri of Jelpur Pathshala. 



76 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



men. 



1 Sometimes vows are observed with 
the same object in honour of a minor local 
deity named L:i\:x Harder.^ Another me- 
thod of driving off the disease is to convey 
it to the body of a goat or a ram, or a he- 
buffalo, and to drive the animal out of the 
village.^ 

Small-pos is believed to be the act of the 
goddess Shitala Mata, who spreads the dis- 
ease whenever she is desirous of having 
victims.* Thus, in cases of small-pos, the 
patient very often receives no medical 
treatment, the only remedies adopted being 
directed towards the propitiation of the 
Mata.* A number of vows are taken in the 
Mata's name, to be fulfilled after the 
patient has recovered. Alany people aeeom- 
plish their vows before the Shitala Matu 
at Kalavad in Jfimuagar. A vow to visit 
this place after the patient's recovery, and 
to abstain from certain things till the day 
of the visit, is taken by the mother of the 
affected person in case of a severe attack. 
But almost every village contains a temple 
of Shitala Mata, and those, who cannot go 
to Kalavad, vow in the name of the local 
Mata.* One of such vows is to go to the 
temple of the Mata with a burning hearth 
on the head.* Such a vow is generally un- 
dertaken by the patient's mother. 

Ordinarily in a case of small-pox, the 
patient is not allowed to bathe till he is 
completely free from all traces of the dis- 
ease. A bath is then given on a Sunday, 
a Tuesday, or a Thursday , with water which 
has been heated by being placed in the sun. 
An image of Shitala Mata is set up in the 



worships the image after the bath. The 
image is drawn in cowdung with two cotton 

seeds to represent the eyes. An offering of 
Iculera f and curds is made to the goddess. 
Five virgins are invited to dinner, and arc 
served with cold food. All the members 
of the household also partake of cold food. 
On the 7th or the 13th day of the bright 
half of a month the patient is taken to the 
temi^le of Shitnlii !Mata, when a cocoanut 
is broken in the presence of the goddess. 
Half of the cocoanut is brought home, the 
other half being carried away by the MatiVs 
attendant. Some people place a new 
earthen vessel filled with water near the 
goddess. Silver eyes, which may be worth 
anything between half an anna and half a 
rupee, are dedicated to the Mata.* 

The first visit to the Mata should take 
place on a Sunday or a Tuesday, The 
things vowed to the goddess are dedicated on 
this occasion. It is also necessary to go to 
the goddess again on the next Tuesday or 
Thursday after the first visit. This time 
only water and red lac are offered.^ 

During the course of the disease no low- 
caste person and no woman in her monthly 
course is allowed to cast his or her shadow 
on the patient.* The women in the house 
are prohibited from combing their hair, or 
churning curdled milk, or indulging in sex- 
ual intercourse. Such acts are believed to 
cause extreme displeasure to the Mata, 
who then causes some limb of the patient to 
be affected. Branches of nimb leaves are 
suspended over the doors of the house, and 
also round the patient's bed. The same 



house near the water room, and the patient I leaves are used to fan the patient.* 



2 The School Master of Dhank. 
* The School Master of Jodia. 



' The School Master of Gaaod. 
» The School Master of Dadvi. 
5 Mr. K. D. Desiii. 

* The patient is often entirely made over to the Mata and is again purchased from her at a nominal price 
of a rupee and a quarter. —Mr. K. D. Desai. 

t A mixture of the flour of bajri, ghi, and molasses. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



11 



When a child suffers from the disease, it 
is often weighed against dates, which are 
first dedicated to the goddess, and then dis- 
tributed amongst the poor/ The child is 
taken to bow dow;n before the goddess after 
nine or ten days from the date of attack, 
and the mother of the child offers several 
things to the Mata, among which are grapes, 
sugar, a pinch of flour, a small earthen bowl 
full of water, and a blank sheet of paper.^ 

Different things are dedicated to the god- 
dess according as the disease affects one 
part of the body or another. For instance, 
flour of bajrii or jttvari is offered in case of 
bronchitis ; silver models of the human eye 
when the disease affects the eyes; a goras 
(a black earthen vessel full of curds) in case 
of morbid lieat ; a piece of black paper, in 
high fever, and salt if there is an itching 
sensation.^ The Mata is said to live on cold 
food and to be very fond of things which 
have a cooling effect such ag fruits, sugar, 
etc. The same things are given to the 
patient as food.** 

To secure the protection of Shitala !Mata 
for their children, women annually observe 
the vow of shili satem on the 7th day of 
the dark half of Shicivan. On this day the 
Mata is said to visit every house and to roll 
herself on the hearth. No fire is, therefore, 
lighted in the hearth on this day : for if the 
Mata comes and is scorched by the fire she 
is sure to bring misfortune on that house- 
hold. For this reason, a number of dainties 
and all the food necessary for the day is 
prepared on the previous day. On the day 
of shili sdtem, juvdri seeds are spread on 
the hearth, and after being sprinkled with 
red lac, a cowdung bowl containing a plant 
called vana is placed upon them. The 
women of the house bathe with cold water 
and take only one meal during the day. 



They further abstain from sewing and em- 
broidering during that day. Sometimes a 
Brahman is engaged to recite tlie iShitald 
sJiloIca from a book called Rudrayamal.'' 

The following legend is related of nhili 
satem, A certain woman once forgot to ex- 
tinguish the fire in lier liearth on Rdndhan 
Chhetha (lit. cooking sixtli), i. e., the day 
previous to shili satem. On the next day, 
the Mata was scorched in the stomach when 
she came to roll licrself on the hearth. In 
extreme anger the goddess cursed the woman 
saying that her only son would be burnt to 
death; and immediately the boy died. In 
her anguish the unfortunate mother confess- 
ed her fault to a friend, who advised her to 
go to the jungle and entreat tlie ^Slfitato give 
back her son. She found the goddess rolling 
in distress under a babul tree. The woman 
slowly approached her, and began to comb out 
the !Mata's hair. She then placed her son in 
the Mata's lap and entreated the goddess to 
revive the bo}\ The Mala felt much relieved 
by the woman's attentions and blessed her 
saying tliat her bosom should be as quiet as 
her own head. Immediately, at these words, 
the bo}' revived, to the intense joy of liis 
mother.'' 

Women whose relatives have recovered 
from a dangerous attack of small-pox observe 
a vow on every scitem, i. e., the 7th day of 
the dark half of everj' month. They first 
bathe with cold water and, after offering an 
oblation of Itiilerd, take their meals only once 
during the day. This food has to be pre- 
pared on the previous day. 

Shitala Mata is described as riding an ass 
in a nude state with the half of a .s'upndtiii, 
(a winnowing fan) for an umbrella and 
with a swing in one hand, and a broom in 
the other." But more usually the Mata is 
represented by a mere trunkless head in 



' The School Master of Jodia. ' The School Master of Sayala. 

' The Deputy Educational Inspector of Halar. * The School Master of Zinzuvada. 

5 The School Masters of Dhank and Ganod. ^ The School Master of Vaiiod. 

' Tee School Master of Ganod. 



78 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



stent-, besmeared witli red lead. This is I god Krishna, and it can be cured by the re- 
said to be the head of Babhrivalian, the son eitation oi' a piece called Ushaharan, from 
of Bliima' tlic second of the Pandavas by a thu Haiivansha.* Some persons attribute 
Nag motlier. At the time of tl)e Great War, j fever to the wratii of Vishnu, and declare that 
he was sent by his mother from his resi- it can be avoided by the recitation of /'iWinu- 
dence in th pul'V (liio regions below this sahasranama,^ Others believe it to be due 
world) to assist his laliicr, and as li,' did to the anger of Shiva, and say that it can be 
not know the Pandavas, he was asked to cured by pouring a stream of water over the 
join the weaker side. On coming to the ; image of Shiva by offering bel leaves (Aegle 



earth he first met with Krishna who took a 
promise from him to lop his own head off. 
In return, Krishna promised him that he 
would be immortal, invisible and worshipped 
bj' all, and the head was set up on the flag of 
the Pandavas. This head began to trouble 
the Pandavas after their victor}-, and 
could only be quieted by the promise of 
Krishna to have him recognised as a deity 
with unlimited powers. This head after- 
wards came to be known as the controller 
of small-pox. How the head of the male 
Babhrivalian came to be identified with 
Shitala Miita, it is difficult to explain. ^ 

There is a tradition that a Kunbi once re- 
covered his eyesight, lost in an attack of 
small-pox, by worshipping Shitala Mata, and 
by vowing not to tic his lock of hair till his 
blindness was eured.- 

It is said that the powderlike substance 
which falls from the scabs of small-pox cures 
cataract if applied to the cyes.- 

Daksha PrajTipati onee celebrated a great 
sacrifice, but did not invite his son-in-law 
Shiva. The latter was extremely enraged 
at the insult, and eight sorts of fever were 
in consequence produced by his breath at 
that time.5 According to another story sar 
or fever was created by Shiva in order to 
assist the demon Banasur in his contest witli 



marmelos) to him, and by reciting the Mri- 
tyunjaya mantra in his honour.'' Others 
again ascribe it to the displeasure of the 
gods Harit and Har,t saying tliat the heat 
is caused bj' the wrath of Shiva.' 

The following are some of the remedies 
adopted in cases of fever : 

(i) The recitation of sacred hymns in 
honour of the gods. 

(ii) The worship of Narsinh. % 

(iii) Rudrfibhisliek — pouring a stream of 
water on the image of Shiva with the reci- 
tation of verses in his honour. 

(iv) Drawing the jantra of Mrityunjaya 
{lit, Deatli-conquering, an epithet of Shiva) 
as shown below. 




1 Mr. K. D. Desai. 

^ Tlie School Master of Sanka. 

5 The School Master of Ganod 



'^ The School Master of Jodia. 

* The Mistress of Rajkot, Civil Station Girls' School. 

5 The Shastri of Jetpur Pathshala. 
'' The School Master of Charadwa. 
• Babhrivahan was not the son cf Bhima, he was the son of Arjun by Chitrangada, a princess of Manipur. 
t Names of Visknu and Shiva respectivelj'. 
[ Tlie half-man and half-lion incarnation of Visl nu, 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



79 



(v) Tying a magic thread round the arm.i 
On a Sunday or a Tuesday a woollen thread 
or a piece of five-coloured silken thread is 
taken to a hcivc'i or a jogi^ who mutters a few 
lu^-stic words, and makes seven ^nots in the 
tlircad. The thread is treated with frank- 
incense, and then tied round the arm.- 

Periodical fevers are believed to be under 
the control of certain spirits. There is a 
story connected with almost every sort of 
fever, and it is believed that a person who 
listens to such a storj' is cured of fever.* 
Tile following legend is connected with 
ekanlerio — intermittent fever occurring on 
alternate days. Once a Bania, on his way 
to a village, came across a banyan tree where 
he unyoked his bullocks and went to a dis- 
tance to seek for water. Ekanterio (the 
spirit controlling intermittent f L-ver) resided 
on this tree, and when the Bani.'^, had gone 
sufficiently far he stole from behind the tree 
and carried away the Bania 's carriage toge- 
ther with his famih'. The Bania was much 
surprised to miss them on his return, but he 
soon found out the author of the trick, and 
pursued Ekanterio. That spirit however 
would not listen to the Bania's entreaties to 
return his carriage, and the matter was at i 
last referred for arbitration to Bochki Bai. 
The latter decided in favour of the Bania, 
and confined Ekanterio in a bamboo tube. 
He was released on tlie condition that he 
would never attack those persons who listen 
to this story.'* 

There is a flower garden to the west of 
Jodia where there is a tree called ghelun 
(mad) tree. Vows in honour of this tree are 
believed to be efficacious in curing fever."* 

It has been already said above that such 
epidemic diseases as cholera or the plague are 
often supposed to be the result of the sinis- 
ter practices of the Bhangis. There is a 



belief that the Bhangis sometimes prepare 
an image out of the flour of adad (phaseolus 
radiatus) and pierce it with needles, and it is 
said that for every hole made in the image 
one human being falls a victim to some 
epidemic disease. Such an image is sometimes 
placed in an earthen vessel and buried under- 
ground in a public way so that every passer 
by treading on the spot where it is buried 
may be attacked by some disease. Or it is 
thrown into the well which is most used by 
village people, witli the object that all 
persons drinking water from the well maj^" 
perish by the disease.^ 

The Bhangis are also accused of causing 
an epidemic by means of boiling the ear of a 
buffalo and the flesh of an ox together in one 
vessel, it being believed that the virulence 
of the disease varies in proportion to the 
extent to which the boiling proceeds. This 
process is supposed to cause a disease among 
cattle also.° 

Another belief is that the Bhangis charm 
seeds of adad and cloves bj' relocating magic 
incantations over them, and afterwards strew 
them on a highway in order that those wlio 
step on them may be attacked by cholera or 
some similar disease." One motive sugges- 
ted for such action is that tiiey are thereby 
likely to receive their garments, which would 
be used for covering the bodies.* Also at 
the outbreak of such an epidemic, clothes, 
cocoanuts, glii, molasses, wheat flour, etc., 
are offered by the people to the Bhangis, who 
in return give a dorci^ a piece of thread, of 
black wool to be worn by the afflicted 
persons.^ 

But apart from such' beliefs, the apper.r- 
ance of an epidemic is also attributed to 
other causes. There is the us'jal belief that 
it is caused b}' the diminution of virtue and 
the increase of sin among people and the 



I The School Master of Dhaak. 

= Mr. K. D. Desai. 

5 Mr. K. D. Desai. 

'■ The School Master of Rajpara. 



2 The School Master of Zinzuvada. 
« T.ie School Master of Jodia. 

6 T.ie Deputy Educational Inspector of Gohelwad, 
' T 16 School Master of Jasdan. 
The School Master of Rajpara. 



£0 



TllF. FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



consequent wrath of tlic gods, wlio arc only 
propitiated by the people again reverting to 
righteous ways and by the performance of 
sacrifices in their lionour.'^ 

There is also a belief lli.iL the sixty-four 
Joganis, when they are desirous of victiirs, 
cause baneful epidemics among mankind, the 
remedies in such a case being such as offer- 
ing a goat or a he-buffalo to them, or the 
observation of an iijiini in their honour. 

The following talc is related regarding an 
occurrence said to have taken place not long 
ago in the village of Verad. The headman of 
the village who was a Rajput by birth but 
who had lost his caste owing to irregular con- 
duct with a woman, died of fever, and as he 
was an outcaste his bidy was buried instead 
of being cremated. Soon after, a number 
of piTsons in the same village happened to 
die of the same fever and the people conjec- 
tured that the late pa'.eVs corpse must be 
lying in its grave with its face downwards 
fhewiiigthc khahan (? perhaps laphaii^ i. e. 
the cloth in wliicii a corjjse is wrapped). 
Many thought that the health of the village 
would not bs restored until the corpse was 
replaced in the correct position with its face 
upwards and unless the hliapan was taken 
out of its mouth. But none ventured to do 
so, being dissuaded by the fear of meeting 
with a worse fate. 

But although they did not open the grave 
yet they arranged for certain vows to be 
taken in honour of the dead man, and that 
put a stop to the disease.- 

Anothcr stor}- from the same place is that 
when small-pox once raged furiously in that 
village, the people of the place celebrated a 
magnificent feast of dainties prepared of 
wheat-flour, ghi, molasses, rice and pulse, and 
afterwards the Dheds of the village lopped 
off the head of a dead he-buffalo, burj-ing 
it at the spot where the feast was held.^ 



The remedies adopted for the abatement of 
epidemic diseases have already been mention- 
ed above, the most common being the winding 
of a cotton-thread, the jjouring out of 
dharavadi, i.e., milk, in the village, and the 
taking of the raili of the Mata in a procession 
beyond, the village boundary, the epidemic 
being supposed to be expelled in the rath. 
In the last case, after the rath lias been 
taken to the neighbouring village, a charmed 
peg is sometimes driven into the ground near 
the village boundary to prevent the epidemic 
from crossing back again.* 

Mention has already been made of the 
deities which protect the cattle and to whose 
displeasure diseases among cattle are attri- 
buted. It is said that such diseases are very 
common during the vishi of Shiva. .V cycle 
of twent}' years is called a vishi, three such 
cycles making a complete sa7>ivatsar of sixty 
years. Each of such vishis is presided over 
and named after each of the three gods of 
the Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. 
The vishi of Brahma is characterized by 
protection and creation, that of Vishnu In- 
growth and that of Shiva by destruction, 
the last often bringing on such calamities as 
plague, famine and diseases among cattle.'' 

The following are some of the remedies 
practised by the village people in the case 
of certain cattk-diseases. 

In the case of such diseases as movii kha- 
rava or the like, there is a jiractice of bury- 
ing a plough near one's gates, which is after- 
wards covered with dust gathered from three 
streets and is worshi))ed with a branch of a 
tree a plate of iron and red lead. This 
ceremony has to be performed either on a 
Sunday or a Tuesday, and the man who per- 
forms it has to remain naked at the time.*' 

For the cure of valo (a disease in which 
the throat is inflamed), pieces of the stalk 
of kuhad-vel (a kind of creeper) arc tied 



1 Tha School Master of Kotda-Sangani. 
' The Schojl Maslcr of Devalia. 
*> The School Master of GanocJ. 



-' The School Master of Dtvalia. 
< The School Master of Sanka. 
6 The School Master of Dhfink. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



81 



round the neck or the horns of the diseased 
animal and no other food except ghi and 
molasses is allowed to it for two or three 
days. A handful of salt is sometimes thrown 
on the back of the animal.' Sesamum oil 
is also said to work as a good medicine in 
the case of the same disease.- 

Another remedy for the same disease is 
to pass a knotted bamboo stick with seven 
knots seven times over the back of the ailing 
animal.^ 

Ghi is sometimes used as a medicine in 
the case of small-pox. In the case of 
shakario or kSlo ra, the animal is branded 
in the affected limbs. To one suffering from 
a stye in the e3'e an ointment prepared from 
the horn of a deer is applied, while a mixture 
of whey and salt is said to be useful in most 
eye maladies. The treatment for the swelling 
of the belly is a mixture of molasses, ajamo 
(ligusticum ajwaen) and sanchal (a kind of 
salt). To cure an animal of khapari (a 
disease which affects milch-cattle), the 
milk of the affected animal is poured on 
rafda (a kind of jujube tree). If after 
delivery, some part of the embryo remains 
inside an animal, milk and molasses are given 
to expedite its removal.* 

In the case of kharava the ailing animal 
is made to move about in hob sand and is 
treated with salt, which is first fried on the 
fire of Holi, The remedy for the disease 
known as kumbhava is to give a dose of 
castor oil, sanchal^ ajamo and hot water to 
the sick animal and also to tie a magic 
thread round its neck.^ 

A disease called okarinu {i.e., vomitting) 
sometimes breaks out among sheep. In this 
case the shepherds separate all the affected 
animals from the herd and remove them to 
a distance. All the sheep which die of the 
disease are buried deep in a pit, which is 



guarded for several days, lest some other 
animals dig it up and let lose the buried 
epidemic by exposing the carcasses. It is 
believed that the contagion of this disease 
lies in the ears; and the ears of all the sheep 
in the herd are carefully watched if they 
bleed.'' 

The twin gods Ashivini Kumar are some- 
times propitiated by means of an anushthdn 
(the performance of religious austerities in 
their honour) in order that they may put 
a stop to a disease among cattle.'' 

It appears that dancing often forms a part 
of the process of exorcism. Frequently danc- 
ing is accompanied by the beating of cymbals 
and drums and other loud noises. A 
mandalu is convened at the house of the person 
who is to be exorcised i. e. , a number of 
hhuvds are invited to attend along with a 
number of low-caste drummers, and afterwards 
the ceremony of utdr is gone through; the 
utdr is then taken to a cemetery. ^ 

Sometimes the beating of drums and 
cymbals is alone resorted to for expelling an 
evil spirit from the person of a patient. It is 
believed that this process is effectual in propor- 
tion to the degree of the intensity of the noise 
created.'' The patient is asked to sit facing 
the east. The B.aval or Vaghri i. e. , the 
drummer, sits in front of him, and not only 
beats the drum as loudly as he can, but also 
sings hymns at the top of his voice in honour 
of his favourite goddess. In the meanwhile, 
the hliuva, who is also in attendance, begins to 
be possessed, and discloses the fact by convul- 
sive fits. After a while, the hhuvd suddenly 
stamps his foot furiously on the floor, and, 
seizing'^the patient by a lock of his hair, and 
perhaps even giving him]^a blow on the back, 
asks in a stern voice " Who art thou ? speak 
out at once why thou hast come or else I will 
burn thee to death."* 



1 The School Master of Dhank and the Shastri of Jetpur Pathshala. 

2 The Shastri of Bhayavadur Pathashala, ' The School Master of Zinzuwada. 

* The Shastris of Jetpur and Bhayavadur. = The School Master of Wala Taluka. 

« The School Master of Anandpur. ' ' The School Master of Kotda-Sangani. 

8 The School Master of Zinzuwada. 9 Xhe School Master of Kotda-Sangani. 

* All this of course is addressed to the evil spirit which is supposed to have possessed the patient. 



82 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



The patient will tlicn perhaps reply: 'Don't 
you know mc? I am charan\ or I am I 
zaniMdi, (a female spirit guarding the village j 
gates) or Vagliaram or Vnrva'j (the spirit 
of n deceased ancestor) . Regarding the | 
reason for possession, the evil sjiirit will 
give some sucli explanition us follows: ^ 
"Once upon a time the patient "as taking a 
loaf and vegetables which lie hid from me, 
and th'-refore I shall leave his person only 
with his life." The hhuva will then say 
"life is ))rccious and not so cheap as you 
think. If you want anything else, say so and 
leave this person." After a dialogue suc-h as 
the above, the hhiiva and the spirit come to 
some compromise, and the hhuva then leads a 
procession with the uiar either to the village 
boundary or to a cemetery. The hluiva then 
draws a circle on the ground with the point 
of a sword which he carries, and places the 
iitar within the circle. He then slightly 
cuts the tip of his tongue with the edge of 
the sword, and spits blood into a fire lighted 
for the purpose. The smoke of this fire is 
supposed lo carry the offering to the evil spirit. 
The u tar is then taken away by the drummers, 
who share it secretly with the hhuva. In the 
event of the patient deriving no benefit from 
this ceremony, the hhuva advises the patienfs 
relatives to repeat the process. ^ 

The following ceremony is sometimes 
performed in order to ascertain whether a 
person is under the influence of an evil spirit 
or not. A hhuva is invited to the patient's 
house in the company of drummers, and there 
he dances for some time amidst the din 
produced bj' the beating of the drums and by 
the loud recitation of hymns in honour of his 
favourite goddess. Afterwards a handful of 
grain is passed round the head of the patient 
and presented to the hhuva for inspection. 
The hhuva selects a few seeds from the grain 
.nnd making certain gestures, offers them to 



the patient with either the words ' vacho ' or 
'vadhavo' . In case the hhuva says ' vacho ' 
and the number of seeds happens to be even, 
what he declared to Lc the cause of the patient's 
trouble is believed to be true. So also if 
llif Iihuvd says vadhavo and the number of 
seeds proves lo be odd. But in case the 
number of seeds proves to be (nld wJien tl»e 
hhuva says * Vacho ' , or even, when he says 
vadhavo, then his explanation of the cause of 
the patient's trouble is not credited. 

Sometimes Brslbmans instead of bhuvas are 
engaged to exorcise an evil sjjirit from tile 
body of a .sick person. A bellnietal dish, 
containing adad (pliaseolus r.idiatus) wheat 
and jOK'an, is placed on a copper jar and 
struck violently with a stick, called velan, so 
as to produce a loud noise. The patient, who 
is made to sit in front, begins to tremble and 
sometimes even to rave. Tlie Brahmans also 
create a loud noise and in a loud voice ask the 
patient who the evil spirit is and what it 
wants. The patient will then give out the 
name of some notorious ddkan (witch) or of 
one of his deceased ancestors and will add 
that he desires a certain thing which he was 
used to get while in human form. The evil 
spirit is tlien propitiated by offering the 
things asked for and is requested to leave the 
body of the patient. ^ 

The following are other methods of expell- 
ing an evil spirit from the body: — 

Either lohhdii i. e., incense powder, or chil- 
lies or even tlie excreta of dogs are burnt under 
the nose of the patient, who, overpowered, by 
the unpleasant odour, is supposed to give out 
the name of the evil spirit and also what the 
latter wants. 

Water is charmed with incantations, and is 
either dashed against the patient's eyes or is 
given to him to drink.* 

If tile evil spirit possessing a patient is a 
purvaj i. e., the spirit of a deceased ancestor^ 



t Feminine of Vaghri bslonging to tlie Vaihri caste. 
'' The School Masters of Ganod, Vanod and Kolki. 



1 The School Master of Sjinka. 
3 The School Master of Dadvi. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



83 



either Nirayan-bali Shrdddha or Nil-Parvani 
Shrdddha or Tripindi Shrdddha is 
performed in order to propitiate it, and a 
party of Brahmans is invited to dinner. In 
case the purvaj is a female, a cocoanut is 
installed in a gohhalo (a niclie) in the wall to 
represent it, ghi lamps are lighted, and 
frankincense is burnt every morning before it. 
On the anniversary of the death of the purvaj 
a party of gordnis (unwidowed women) is 
invited to dinner. '^ 

If a woman is believed to be possessed by a 
ddJcan, she is made to hold a slioe in her teeth 
and is taken to the village bound iry, where 
the shoe is dropped, and a circle is drawn 
round it with water from a bowl carried by 
the party. The holding of the shoe by the 
teetli signifies a vow on the part of th*; ddkan 
never to re-enter the person of the exorcised 
woman.* 

The following are other occasions for 
religious dancing, namely during the Nav-rdtra 
holidays (i. e. , the festival which commences 
from the 1st day of the bright half of Ashvin 
and lasts for nine days) ; at the time of offer- 
ing oblations to the village-gods ; on the occas- 
ion of setting up a pillar in memory of a 
deceased person ; at the time of the Nilotsava* 
ceremony. 

At the time when Randal the wife of Surya 
is installed and worshipped, a party of young 
women dance in a circle before the goddess to 
the accompaniment of garabis.^ 

The eighth day of the bright half of Ashvin 
is dedicated to the worship of the Mdtds and 
'devis j[minor goddesses), and on this day, 
bhuvds have to dance each before his favourite 
mdtd. This tliey have also to do on the 1st 
day of the bright half of Ashddh. Bhuvds 



are also invited to dance on the Dirvdsd day 
i. e., tlie last day of Ashddh.^ 

The bhuvd occupies a liigh place in the 
esteem of the village people, and commands 
much respect. In the first place, his position 
is that of a medium between the gods and 
goddesses on the one hand and human beings 
on the other. ^ He is the interpreter of the 
will of the gods, which he expresses to the 
public when in a state of trance. Besides he 
is believed to have power over the evil spirits 
which are visible to a bhuvd though cannot be 
seen by ordinary eyes.' He is the guardian 
of the village, his duty, being to protect the 
people from the malignant influence of the 
evil spirits.^ 

In the next place, it is also the office of the 
bhuvd to treat the sick. In cases when 
medicine is unavailing and where the malady is 
supposed to be the work of some evil spirit, the 
opinion of the bhuvd is sought by the relations 
of the patient and is given by the test of the 
scrutiny of grain.'"' When the sick person is 
found to be under the influence of a spirit, the 
common mode of exorcising is to take an titdr 
to the cemetery. An image of a human being 
is prepared out of the flour of adad (phaseolus 
radialus) and is passed round the body of the 
sick person. The bhuvd then holds the image 
near his heart and stretches himself on a bier 
with the image on his bosom. In this condi- 
tion the bhuvd is taken to the cemetery, and 
the evil spirit is believed to be driven by these 
means out of the patient's body.'' 

The bhuvd distributes dords (magic threads) 
and anklets among the people. Such things 
are coveted for their efficacy in warding off the 
influence of evil spirits and are often sought 
after by people for their cattle as well as for 



1 The School Master of Limbdi Taluka, '^ Mr. B. K. Desai. 

* Nilotsava or Nil-parnavuiii is a ceremony performed in honour of a young man. who has 
come to an untimely end. The chief part of the ceremony is the performance of the weddmg ot abuU- 
calf with a heifer. Sometimes a member of the deceased youth's family is possessed on such an 
occasion by the spirit of the deceased man and is believed to have then the power of correctly answering 
questions about future events, etc. — The School Master of Dhank. ,,,,£- 

' The School Master of Devalia. * The School Masters of Dhank and Kotda Sangani. 

5 The School Master of Sanka. " The School Master of Dadvi. 

7 The School Masters of Dadvi and Kolki. 



84 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



themselves.^ TJie prosperity of the danhlan- 
vagddndrs (tliose wlio beat tlic drum) depends 
to a large i xtent on the success of the bhiivd's 
business, and for tliis reason, the dtumuiers are 
often very good advocates of the hhttvd and 
take every opportunity of glorifying bis powers 
and merits. 

The respect which a bhuvd commands in this 
way is sometimes increased by the performance 
of such tricks as his putting lighted torches 
into his mouth, placing his liand in boiling 
oil, and similar iierformances. 

But altliougli there may be some bhuvds 
who profit by imposing upon the credulity of 
the villagers, there are manj bhuvds who do 
not work with the expectation of any reward, 
and are only actuated by benevolent motives. 
Many of them honestly believe that at the time 
when they are thrown into a state of trance, 
the mditds or deities actually enter their bodies 
and speak their wishes through them as a 
medium. 

In some villages, the office of the bhuvd is 
liereditary, and lands have been assigned to 
them in remuneration for their duly^. In 
addition to this religious calling, a bhuvd 
often follows some other profession as that of 
agriculture, weaving or spinning.^ 

The bhuvd generally belongs to some low 
caste and may be a Koli, Bharvad Rabari, 
Vaghri or even a Charaar. The bhuvds are 
also known as potliids. One good qualifica- 
tion for becoming a bhuvd is to possess the 
habit of throwing one's self into convulsive 
fits followed by a state of trance, especially on 
hearing the beating of a ddnlddn (drum). At 
such a time the mala or devi is supposed to 
possess the person of the bhuvd and to speak 
out her wishes on being questioned. Some 
bhuvds are regularly possessed by some devi 
or 7ndtd on every Sunday or Tuesday.' 



A typical bhuva has a braid of hair on 
his head, puts one or more iron or copper 
anklets round his leg or elbow, and makes a 
mark witJi red lead on his forehead. A bhuvd 
attending upon the goddess Meldi is gene- 
rally' a Vaghri by caste and always wears 
dirty clothes. A Bharvad bhuvd has generally 
a silver anklet round his waist. A bhuvd has 
to observe a fast on all the nine days of the 
Nav-rdlyas. If a bhuvd happens to come 
across another bhuvd in convulsive fits or in a 
trance, he must need go into fits as well. 

Generally speaking every bhuvd keeps an 
image of his favourite indld in or near his 
own dwelling. Generally he erects a hut for 
the purpose and hoists a flag upon it. Near 
the image are placed a number of conch-shells 
and stones and brooms of peacock feathers. 
The deity is not systematically worshipped 
every day but receives adoration every Sunday 
and Tuesdaj'. Sometimes the bhuvd has a 
disciple — a sevaka — who does tlie duty of 
dashing bell-metal cymbals at the time when 
the bhuvd throws himself in a trance.'' 

When a new bhuvd is to be initiated into 
the profession, he is made to sit before an 
image of the mdtd, where he goes into convul- 
sive fits while the danlddn vngddndrs beat the 
drums and loudly recite hymns in honour of 
the deity. Afterwards he is taken to a ceme- 
tery accompanied by the drummers and an 
expert bhuvd^ where the latter marks out a 
square on the ground with the edge of a 
sword. The novice is asked to lie prostrate 
within the area thus marked out and to get up 
and lie again, doing the same four times, each 
time with his head towards each of the four 
quarters. The bhuvd who initiates the novice 
and who is thenceforth considered to be the 
guru or preceptor of the latter, ties a rdkhadi 
(a p iece of silk thread^ round the elbow of 
the pupil. ^ 



1 The School Masters of Kotda Sangni and Sanka.. 
' The School Master of Zinzuwada^ 
♦ The School Master of Sanka. 
« Mr. K. D. Desiii. 



3 The School Master of Jodia. 
^' The School Master of Dadvi. 
'' The School Master of Patani'av. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



85 



Every hhuva is required to propitiate liis 
favourite goddess every tliird year, the cere- 
mony which is then performed being called 
Kliad-Khadya-hesddi-i. This is performed 
either during the Nav-ratra holidiys or during 
the bright half of either the month of MSgh 
or Chaitra. All the bhuvas in the village are 
iu^ited on tile occasion, when there is 
gdnja-smoking or b/inn^-drinkiug, partly at 
night. After the supper which follows this 
party, all the bhiivds gather together and go into 
convulsive fits till they are almost suffocated. 
Coco inut.s are then dedicated and cracked 
before the mdta^ and the kernel is distributed 
among those present. The party then 
break up.^ 

It is believed by some people that the spirit 
of a Muhammadan saint, living or dead, dwells 
in such trees as the Khijado, i. e., Shami 
(Prosopis spicigera) and Bdval, i. e. , Bdbhul 
(Acacia arabica). It is known by the name of 
chitharia that is , the ragged Pir. It is a 
common belief that if a mother fails to offer a 
rag or a piece of cloth to such a holy tree 
while passing by it, her cliildren run the risk 
of falling ill. Women and ignorant people, 
therefore, make a point of offering rags to such 
trees whenever they happen to pass by them.- 

According to another belief, travellers, in 
order to accomplish their journey safel^', 
offer rags to such of the Khijado^ Bdoal or 
Limdo (Nim) trees as are reputed to be the 
residences of spirits, if they happen to be on 
their road.^ 

Some believe that both male and female 
spirits reside in the Khijado^ Bdoal and 
Kerado trees, and throw rags over them with 
the object of preventing passers by from cutt- 
ing or removing the trees. Some pile stones 
round their stems and draw tridents over 
them with red lead and oil. If superstitious 
people come across such trees, they throw 
pieces of stones on the piles, believing them 



to be holy places, and i:hink that by doing so 
they attain the merit of building a temple or 
shrine. A belief runs that this pile should 
grow larger an:l larger diy by day, and not be 
diminished. If th? base of such a tree is not 
marked by a pile of stones, rags only are 
offered; and if rags are not available, the 
devotee tears off a piece of his garment, how- 
ever costly it may be, and dedicates it to the 
tree.* 

Once, a child saw its mother offering a 
rag to such a tree, and asked her tlie reason 
of the offering. The mother replied that iier 
I brother, that is the child's maternal uncle, 
dwelt in the tree. Hence a belief arose that 
a chithario (ragged) uncle dwells in such 
trees. Others asseft th:'t the chithario pir 
dwells in such trees, and they propitiate him 
by offering cocoanuts and burning frankin- 
cense before it.* 

There is a Khijado tree near Sultanpur 
which is believed to be the residence of a 
demon mdmo. This demon is propitiated by 
tils offerings of rags. 

Soms declare that travellers fix rags of 
worn out clothes to the trees mentioned above 
in order that tlisy may not be attacked by the 
evil spirits residing in them. Another belief 
is that the spirits of deceased an3estors resid- 
ing in such trees get absolution through this 
form of devotion. It is also believed that a 
goddess called chitharia deui resides in such 
trees, and being pleased with these offerings, 
blesses childless females with children, and 
cures persons suffering from itch of their 
disease. There is a further belief that ragged 
travellers, by offering pieces of tueir clothes 
to the Khijado, Bdval or Keraio trees, are 
blessed in return with good clothes. 

Some believe that Hanuman, the lord of 
spirits, resides in certain trees. Tliey call 
hiin chithario or ragged Hanuman. All 
passers by offer rags to the trees inhabited by 



1 Tlie School Master of Sanka. 
3 Tlie School Master of Divalia. 



- The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
* The School Master of Ganod. 



86 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



liim. There is such a tree near the station of 
Shiroi. There is a taninrind Irte on the road 
from Tainnagar to Khantalia Mhieh is believed 
to be the rcsidenec of chithario Hanuuian and 
receives similar ofi'trings. Another tamarind 
tree of tliis deseription is near Marad and 
there is a Khijado tree on the road between 
Kalavad and Vavadi vliicli is similarly 
treated. 1 

It is related by some people that in 
deserts trees are rare and the summer heat is 
oppressive. To the lra\cllers passing through 
such deserts, the only jilaee of rest is in the 
shadow of a solitary tree that is to be met 
occasionally. In order that no harm be done 
to such trees, some people have given currency 
to the belief that a spirit called mamo dwells 
in such trees and expects the offering of a rag 
and a pice at the hands of every passer by.^ 

Some are of opinion that the hliuvas, 
in order to raise money from the credulous 
b_v terrifying tluiii, daub a tree within the 
limits of each village with the form of a 
trident, and fix rags to it, staling that it is 
the abode of a mamo or a iiir. At times they 
ask their clients to offer certain things to such 
trees, which the}' appropriate to themselves. ^ 

There is also a belief, that the holy trees 
that receive offerings of rags from travel'ers, 
are the abodes of gods or evil spirits, and 
are distinguished from other trees of the 
same species by tlie epithet of chitliario. 
Some people Iioist flags on such trees instead 
of offering rags. 

In some places, the Boradi (jujube), 
Pipal, Fad (banyan) and the sweet basil 
receive offerings of a pice and a betelnut from 
travellers, while the Khijado and Baval are 
given rags.^ 

It is stated by some people that the belief 
in chithario pir has grown during the last 
four hundred years. 



Rags are never offered to wells, but it 
is common to ofl'i r liieii^ cop))er coins and 
betelnuts. Sometimes flags arc hoisted near 
holy wells in honour of the water-goddess 
Jaldevki. Travellers hoist flags on certain 
wells and throw copper coins into them in the 
course of tlieir journey. The origin of this 
offering is said to be in the desire of travellers 
to prevent people from committing a nuisance 
near wells. 

Some wells are noted as being the abode of 
spirits who have the power of effecting certain 
cures. It is eustoniai y to throw a pice in such 
wells. When a ))erson is bitten by a rabid dog,^ 
he goes to a well inhabited by a vachharo^ the 
spirit who cures hydrophobia, with two earthen 
cups filled witli milk, with a pice in each, and 
empties the contents into the Mater. 

It is a belief among Hindus that to give 
alms in secret confers a great merit on the 
donor. Some of the ortli<idox jitople, there- 
fore, throw pice into wells, considering it to 
be a kind of secret charity. 

The belief in the practices adopted for 
transferring disease from one person to 
another obtains mostly among women, wlia 
have recourse to such practices for curing 
their children. 

One of such practices is to lay a suffering 
child in the cradle of a healthy child. This 
act is believed to result in transferring the 
disease of the ailing child to the healthy child. 
Another pr.ictice is that the mother of the 
sickly child should touch the mother of a 
healthy child with the object of transferring- 
the disease of her child to the child of the 
latter. Some believe that the mere contact of 
an ailing child with a healthy child is suffi- 
cient to transfer the malady of the foru:er to 
the person of the latter. Others maintain 
that tliis can be brought about by a mother 
either by touching the cradle of another 



1 The School Master of Limbdi Taluka, 

2 The School Master of Dadvi. 



' The Schcol Master of Kolki. 



'HIE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



87 



child or by touching the person of another 
wojian. There are others, who hold that the 
disease of a sickly child can be transferred 
to another child by feeding the latter with 
the leavings of the former. There is a 
further belief that a mother can transfer the 
disease of her suffering child to the child of 
another woman by applying the end of her 
robe to the end of the robe of the latter. In 
some places, when a child begins to weaken, its 
mother makes an idol of cow or buffalo dung, 
and keeps it fixed to a wall of the house, in 
the belief that the child will be cured slowly 
as the idol dries. It is slated that instances 
are actuallj" known of the recovery of children 
by this process. These methods of transferring 
disease are called tuchakiis i. e. mj'stic 
methods. As a rule superstitious women 
practise them on Sundays or Tuesdays, as it 
is believed, that to be efficacious, they must 
be practised on these days. 

In addition to the luchahas above stated 
the utdrs^ doras, etc. , already described, 
are used for curing diseases. 

Some diseases are attributed to vir possess- 
ion. Virs are male spirits fifty two in number. 
The bhuviis or exorcists are believed to have 
control over them, and are supposed to be able 
to detect an illness caused by possession by a 
vir. In such eases, the bhuvds drive away the 
evil spirits from the patients by magic incan- 
tations, or transfer them to others by waving 
a certain number of grain seeds round the 
head of the patient. By another process the 
bJiuvas can confine the evil spirit in a glass 
bottle, which is buried underground. 

In order to eradicate a dangerous disease, 
an utdr is frequently offered to a dog, in the 
belief that by eating the utdr the disease is 
transferred to the dog. 

In some places, diseases of long standing- 
due to spirit possession are cured by emploj-- 
iug a bhuvi^ (exorcist), who, accompanied by 
others of his order, goes to the patient's house, 



makes a bamboo bier, waves an utdr round 
the patient's head, and lays himself on the 
bier with the ;<^nr by his side. The bier is 
carried to the burning ground b\ four persons 
to the accompaniment of the beatings of drums, 
followed by the exorcists, who throw bdlcldns 
(round flat cakes of jucdri flour) into the air 
as the procession moves on. '\\'hen the party 
reach the burning ground, the bier is put down, 
and the bkuva^ shaking violently, offers the 
tddr to a spirit of the place. He then prostra- 
tes himself four times with his face turned 
towards the four directions and drives a nail 
into the ground at each turn. Next, the 
bhuvd lets loose a goat or a ram, to which the 
vir in the body of the patienb is supposed to 
be transferred. It is said that the perform- 
ance of this rite relieves the patient's mind of 
anxiety regarding the cause of his disease, 
and he thereafter shows signs of improve- 
ment.^ 

When a man is sufi'ering from diijani (a 
sore or mole on the eyc-Iid) he goes to another 
person's house and .strikes earthen vessels 
against his door saying " I have shaken the 
vessels. May the dnjani be with me to-day 
and with you tomorrow". It is also stated that 
such a patient goes to the house of a man who 
has two wives while the latter is asleep, and 
taps his door uttering the words "Anjani gJiar 
bJidiigani dj mane ane 1;al iane" i. e., "Mav 
anjani, the breaker of the house, be to-day 
with me and tomorrow with thee. '' This 
process is believed to transfer the disease 
from the person of the patient to that of the 
husband of the two wives. 

A common method for transferring disease 
is to wave water round a sick person and give 
it to another to drink. Similarly, a goblet 
filled with water is passed round a patient's 
head and offered to a bhuvd^ who drinks off 
the contents. 

A belief prevails all over Gujarat that a 
disease can be passed from one species of 



1 The Scliool Master o' Zinzuwilda. 



88 



TllK FULKLOliE OF OLJ.IRAT 



animals to another, and various practices are 
adopted to effect this. Generally a bhiiva or 
exorcist arranges the transfer. The bhuva, 
accompanied by a troupe of dancers and 
drummers, visits the liouse of the sick person 
and, after examining corn seeds th'inds which 
have been waved round the patient's head 
on a night preceding a Sunday or Tuesday' 
declares that the evil spirit possessing the 
patient requires a living victim. A cock, 
goat or a male buffalo is then brought as a 
substitute for tlic patient, is waved round 
him, the tip of its right car is cut off, and it 
is offered to tlie mala or goddess, that is, it 
is released to stray as it pleases. These 
goats, etc., are called mat a' s goals, matd's 
cocks, or maid's male buffaloes, and are seen 
wandering' about in many villages. Some- 
times tlie goat, etc., is killed before the image 
of the mdtd and the hhnvd dipping the 
palms of his hands into its blood, presses 
them against the doors of every house in the 
village. In the case of an outbreak of 
epidemic, the victim is set at liberty beyond 
tlie limits of the village affected. It is 
believed by some people that tlie animal to 
which a disease is conveyed in the above 
manner, dies of its effects. ■'^ 

in some places the patient is supposed to 
be possessed by a goddess instead of by an 
evil spirit. A goat, cock or a male buffalo is 
offered to the goddess in the same way as to 
an evil spirit. 

In some villages, wiini tlierc is an outbreak 
of a serious epidemic, it is customary to 
drive a buffalo beyond the village boundary 



with the disease on his back. The back of 
the buffalo which is chosen for this purpose 
is marked with a trident in red lead and 
covered with a piece of black cloth, on 
which are laid a few grains of adad and an 
iron nail. Thus decorated, the buffalo is 
driven beyond the limits of the village. It 
is believed that an animal driven in this wav 
carries the disease wherever it goes. 

Very often, tlie beast to which a disease is 
transferred is kept tied to a post all its life, 
with the belief that by so doing the disease 
remains enchained. Jain teachers confine a 
disease in a bottle and bury it underground. 
Sometimes, a disease is passed on to a crow, 
whose legs are tied to a pillar, thus making 
it a life-long prisoner. 

Once u])on a time^ when there was an out- 
break of cliolera in a certain village, a bdvd 
(recluse) happened to arrive on the scene. 
He caught two rams, made them move in a 
circle, and left them in the burning ground, 
where they died, the ejjidemie disappearing 
with their death. Hence a belief gained 
ground that an epidemic of cholera can be 
expelled by passing it on to two rams or 
goats.2 

It is related that, at Gondal, a case of 
cholera was cured by a Bhangi (sweeper) 
by waving a cock round the patient's head.* 

A few years ago tlierc lived in Kliakhi 
Jalia, a village in the vicinity of Kolki, a 
KhdhJii (recluse) Darned Narandas, who, when 
laid u]) with fever, passed on the disease to 
his blanket, and after a time drew it back to 
his own person. 



1 The School Master of Dhank. 



2 The Pathasbala Shastri, Talpur. 



^ Tlie School Mistress of Gondal. 



•CHAPTER IV'. 
WORSHIP OF ANCESTORS AND SAINTS 



The spirits of a deceased father, grand 
father, great grand father, and of a mother, 
grand mother, and great grand mother, i, e., 
all the male and female ascendants up to the 
third degree, receive systematic worship when 
the Shrdddha or funeral ceremonies are 
performed either on the anniversary of the 
death of any of them or on the day when the 
Narayan hali is performed in such hoh- 
places as Gaya, Sidadhapur or Prabhas Patan. 
The spirits of those who meet heroic deaths 
on fields of battle are called Suropuros, and 
pillars are erected in their memory on the 
spot where they breathed their last. They 
receive only occasional worship.^ 

The purvajas or spirits of deceased ances- 
tors receive worship on the thirteenth or 
fourteenth day of the dark half of Shrt'ivaii 
(the tenth month of the Gujarat Hindu j'car), 
on the fourteenth of the dark half of Ashvin^ 
on the death anniversaries and on days on 
which the Shrdddhas^ tripindis or 7iil parnd- 
vavi ceremonies are performed. On these 
occasions, the pi^ri^rts (deceased ancestors) are 
represented by twisted braids of the durvd 
grass (cynodou dactylon) - 

Purvajas or ancestral spirits descend to the 
level of ghosts when they are strongly 
attached to worldly objects. Such sjiirits 
often possess the bodies of their descendants, 
though the necessary JShrdddhas are per- 
formed for their release. The 13th, 14th and 
15th days of the bright half of the months of 
Kdrtik and Chaitra are the special days for 
propitiation of departed spirits by their 
relatives either at home or in holy ]>laces, while 
the whole of the dark half of the month of 
Bhddarwd is devoted to this purpose.* During 



this fortnight, shrdddha is performed in 
honour of the deceased on the day correspond- 
ing to the day of his death, when Brahmans 
are feasted. Thus, a jjerson dying on the 5th 
day of Kdrtik has his shrdddha performed 
on the 5th day of the sharddian. On this 
occasion, water is poured at the root of the 
Pipal, iarpan or offerings of water are made, 
and pinds or balls of rice are offered to the 
deceased. 

Of all the days of the sharddian the 13th 
I4th and 15th are considered to be of special 
importance. 

The death annivesary of a pitriya is called 
samvatsari^ valgo samachari or chhamachhari 
when a shrdddha is performed and Brahmans 
are feasted. 

The pitriyas are also worshipped on auspi- 
cious occasions such as marriages, by the 
performance of a shrdddha called ndndi, when 
pinds (balls) of molasses are offered instead 
of rice. It is considered an act of merit to 
perform shrdddha in honour of the pitriyas 
on the banks of a river or tank at middav on 
the 8th day of the dark half of a month. 

From the 13th to the 15th day of the dark 
half of Shrdvan^ after their morning ablutions, 
orthodox people pour water over the Pipal, 
the Babul, the Ber (Zizyphus jujube) and, 
durvd grass, and on those places wliere cows 
are known to congregate, in the belief that 
by so doing the thirst of the spirits of the 
deceased is quenched. It is also believed 
that if feasts are given to the relatives of 'the 
deceased and to Bralunans the pitriyas are 
satisfied. 

According to some, the Sharddian] lasts 
from the fuU-moon day of the month of 



1 The School Master of Dhank. 
* This period of 15 days is called Sharadian, 



- The School Master of Kotda Sangaui. 



90 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



BhSdarva to the new-moon day of the same 
month, that is for a period of sixteen days. 
The Shrdddhas of those who die on the 
Punema or full-moon day of a month 
an- ])trformed on lln- fiill-inoon day of 
Bhddarvii^ and the Shrdddhas of those who 
die on the neW-moon day aynuvasia of a month 
are performed on the amavasia of Bhddarvd. 
The 13th day of the dark half of Bhadarva 
is called bdla terash that is childrens' 
thirteenth. This day is specially devoted to 
the propitiation of tl»e spirits of children.^ 

On the Shrdddha days Briihmans and 
relatives of the deceased are feasted, and 
oblations called Vdsh^ consisting of rice and 
sweets, are offered to crows. 

On Aslio Fad fourteenth, that is, the 
fourteenth of the dark half of Asho, it is 
customary to apply red lead to the pillars 
erected in honour of men that die heroic or 
noble deaths on fields of battle, to break 
cocoanuts before them, to light lamps fed with 
ghi and to offer cooked food to their spirits.^ 

The spirits of those who die with strong 
attachment to the objects of this world are 
said to enter tlie state known as asur gati or 
the path of demons. In this condition tlie 
spirit of the deceased possesses the person of 
one of his relatives and torments the family 
in which he lived. The members of the family, 
when worried by Jiis persecutions, engage the 
services of a hhuvd or exorcist, who sets up 
a wooden image of the tormenting spirit in a 
niche in a wall of the house. A lamp fed 
with gTii is lighted daily before this image, 
and in times of trouble, a cocoanut is offered 
to it in the belief that the spirit can protect 
the offerers from injuries. 

The pitriyas or ancestral spirits are 
propitiated by pouring water over the" Bordi 
(jujube), the Ttdsi (sweet basil) the Vad 
(banyan) the Pipal or durvd grass (cynodon 
dactyton) on the 13lh, 14th and 15th days 



of the briglit half of Chaitra and on the 
same days of the dark half of Kdrlik and 
Shrdvan, On Vaishdkh .Shud Trij, that is 
on tlie third of tlic bright half of /'ais/wA-A, 
wJiich is called Akhd Trij, women offer to 
Brahmans two earthen jars filled witii water 
and covered with an earthen cup containing 
a betelnut, a pice and a pan or betel leaf, for 
the propitiation of tlie spirits of their decea- 
sed ancestors. ■'' 

For the propitiation of a male spirit a 
party of Brahmans is feasted, and for the 
propitiation of a female spirit tJirec unwidow- 
ed man-ied women.'' 

Rajputs, Bharvads, Ahirs and Kolis set up 
either a pile of stones or a single stone on 
the boundary of their village in honour of 
those among them who die on battle fields. 
These piles or stones are called Pdlios, On 
the Pdlios are placed engraved images to 
represent the deceased in whose memory the 
Pdlios are erected. Small pillars are also 
raised in the localities where such persons 
met their death. On tlie Kali Cltaudas or 
black fourteenth, that is the fourteenth day 
of the dark half of Asho^ the Pdlios are 
daubed with red lead and worshipped with 
offerings of cocoanuts. Women who have be- 
come sati receive worship and offerings on 
the Hindu new year's day.'' 

Spiritual guides such as Shankaracharya, 
Vallab.acharya, the maltdrdjas or spiritual 
heads of tlie sect called Swaminarayan, Lalo 
Bhagat and Talo Bliagat are worship))cd by 
their devotees with offerings of food, garments 
and cash. In this Kali Yuga or iron age, 
men who are really great are rare, and even 
if there be some, they are invisible to the 
faulty vision of the present day degraded 
mortals. A few come into contact with such 
holy men by virtue of the good deeds per- 
formed by them in their past lives. These 
are said to attain paradise by this saisang'^' 
(contact with the righteous) . 



> Mr. K. D. Desai. 

3 The School Master of lodia. 

'■' The School Master of SSnka. 



= The School Master of Luvaria. 
* The School Master of Lilapur. 
<^ The School Master of Dhfink. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



91 



Holy men receive personal worship during 
their life-time. After they are dead, their 
relics, such as impressions of their footsteps, 
their photos or busts are worshipped with 
offerings of sandal paste, flowers, red powder, 
frankincense, lamps fed with glii and arati 
(swingings of lamps)^ 

Every sect of Hindus has a Maharaja or 
spiritual head, and it is considered meritor- 
ious to entertain and worship him on certain 
special occasions. The Maharaja or Guru is 
received with great ■'claf. His followers 
form a procession and carry him in a palan- 
quin or a carriage and pair accompanied with 
music. At the house of the person who 
invites him, the floor is covered with rich 
■cloth, over which the Maharaja is led to a 
raised seat specially arranged for the purpose. 
He is then worshipped by the host with the 
same details as the image of a god. His feet 
arc washed by panchamrita (five nectars), 
that is a mixture of ghi, milk, honey, sugar 
and water, which is sipped by tlie worshipper 
and distributed among the followers of the 
Maharaja. Very often the feel of the 
Maharaja are washed in water, wl;ich is 
considered as purifying as the panchamrita. 
Great festivity and rejoicings are observed on 
this day at the house of the Maharaja's host, 
where crowds of the Maharaja's followers 
assemble eager for a sight of him. After 
spending about half an hour in the house, the 
Maharaja departs, first receiving valuable 
presents from the hosl. 

Spiritual guides wlio claim the power of 
working miracles are lield in high esteem by 
the people. Some of these guides are said to 
have control over spiritual beings or to possess 
their favour. These spirits .fare^. supposed 
to endow them with the power of preparing 
mystic threads, which, when worn,' round 
the waist, neck or arm, cure various diseases. 



In the Kadavasan woods, near the village 
of Daldi, there lives a bSvd called Bhimputi, 
who is believed to possess miraculous powers. 
He surprises visitors by his wonderful feats 
and commands vows from the afflicted by miti- 
gating their sufferings. Every day, before 
breakfast, the bdvd visits seven villages to 
collect sugar and flour, which he throws in 
handfuls over every anthill wliich he meets 
on his way. This act of charity has establish- 
ed liim as a saint, and most of his prophecies 
are believed to be fulfilled. 

A Musalmfm named Muhammad Chhail is 
held in great respect bj' the people on account 
of his great magical powers. He is believed 
to be in the good graces of a Pir, who has 
endowed him with the power of commanding 
material objects to come to him from long 
distances, and of breaking them and making 
tliem whole again.^ 

Great men of antiquity often command 
worship as gods. A fast is observed by 
Hindus on the 9tli day of the bright half of 
Chaitra^ the birth day of Rama, whose birth 
anniversary is celebrated at noon on that day 
in his temple. On tliis occasion, all visitors 
to the temple offer a pice or two to his image 
and receive his Prasad^ that is, consecrated 
food, which consists of a mixture of curdled 
milk and sugar. The birth of Krishna is 
celebrated at mid-night on the eighth day of 
the dark half of Shrdvan, when people keep 
awake for the whole of the night. 

The Jains observe a fast for seven days 
from Shrdvan Vad Baras, that is the 12th 
day of the dark half of Shrdvan^ to the Sth 
day of the bright half of Bhddarvd^ in 
honour of Mahavir Swami, one of their 
spiritual teachers, who is believed to have 
been born on the 2nd day of the bright half 
of Bhddarvd. This period is known as the 
Pajusan, during which the Jains cause the 



1 The School Master of Ganod. 
- The School Master of Zinzuvada. 



92 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



slaughter-houses and fisli markets to be 
closed and give alms to the poor.^ 

A century ago there lived at Nalkantha 
a sage named Bliansab. He met a holy 
death by deep meditations, and a few days 
after rose up from his grave in his original 
form. This led him to be classed in the 
category of great men and to command 
divine worship. * 

Vithal, a sage of tlie Kathi tribe, is 
revered in Pfiliad. Savo, a devotee at 
Zanzarka, is worshipped by Dheds. Fehala 
a Eajput and Tolat liis wife, are enshrined 
at Anjar, a village in Cuteli. Lalo, a Bania 
devotee of Sindhavar, received divine 
honours in his life-liUiC and his image in 
Sayala is held in great reverence to this day. 
The samadh of Madhvagar, an atit of 
Vastadi, situated in Unchadi a village in the 
Dhandhuka taluka in Ahnicdabad, is an 
object of worship. Harikrishna Maharaja, 
a Brahman saint of Cliuda, received divine 
honours at Chuda and the Charotar.* 

If the souls of the departed ones arc 
condemned to become ghosts, shraddha 
ceremonies performed bj- their descendants 
are said to be efficacious in freeing them 
from their ghostly existence and relegating 
tliem to sbmc other form of life. 

The lives of bhtits and pishachas^ male 
and female ghosts, are said to extend over a 
tliousand years.* Shraddhas, such as the 
samachari i. e., the death anniversary and 
Ndrayanbali i. e., a shraddha performed in a 
holy place, emancipate the ghostly spirits 
from their wretched existence and make them 
eligible for birth in a better form.^ Some 
believe that at the end of their ghostly 
existence (a thousand years) they take birth in 
the anin.al kingdom in the mortal world.'' 



The soul is not said to have finally 
perished unless it merges into the divine 
self and attains moksha or salvation. The 
passions and desires of a dying man do not 
permit his soul ascending beyond a certain 
stage, where he or she remains as a ghost 
until the soul is purged of all his or her 
desires and sins by the performance of 
funeral ceremonies. For relieving ancestral 
spirits from tlie low order of bhuts and 
pislidchas, shraddhas are performed by their 
surviving relatives in such holy ))laces as 
Prabhas, Gayii and Pindtarak, These 
ceremonies are known as Nardyanbal\ 
Nilotsarga and saptdha.parayan (recitation 
of a sacred book for seven consecutive days).'' 

Those persons who die with wicked 
thoughts still present and their desires not 
fulfilled, enter tlie order of evil spirits, from 
which thej' are liberated after their desires 
have been satisfied and their wicked thoughts 
eliminated.* 

BHuts and pishachas-ghosts, male and 
female — can be prevented fron? doing harm 
by recourse to certain processes. For 
instance, the wife of a Nagar of Gadhada 
became a witch after her death and began 
to torment the second wife of her husband 
bv throwing her out of bed whenever she 
was asleep. To prevent this, the husband 
took a vow to perform a shraddha at Sidhpur 
in the name of the deceased wife, after the 
performance of which the ghostly presence 
stopped harassing the new wife of her 
husband.'' 

Bhuls and pish-achas arc believed by some 
people to be immortal, because they are 
supposed to belong to the order of demi-gods. 
In the Amorlcosha — the well-known Sanskrit 
lexicon — they are classed with divinities, such 



1 The School Master of Jodia. 

' The School Master of Sanka. 

' The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

7 The School Master of Ganod. 

' The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohilvsd. 



2 The School Master of Lalapur. 

* The School Masters of Kotda Sangani and Dadvi. 

•5 The School Master of Dadvi. 

8 The School Master of Mota Devalia. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



93 



as guhyaks, and sidkas. The bkut is defined 
as a deity tliat troubles infants and the 
pishdcJta as a deity that lives on flesh. 
Bhluts and pishnchas are the ganas or 
attendants of Shiva, one of the gods of 
the Hindu Trinity. They are supposed to 
be upadevas or demi-gods. 

Preta is the spirit of a person that dies a 
sudden or unnatural death with many of his 
desires unfulfilled. His soul attains emanci- 
pation by the performance of a saptdk^ that 
is a recitation of the Bhdgvat on seven con- 
secutive days. It is described in the Bhdgvat 
that Dhundhumari, the brother of Gokarn, 
■who had become a preta^ was released from 
his preta existence by tlie performance of 
a saptdh which his brother caused to be 
m'-de. The Garudpurdn mentions that King 
Babruvahan emancipated a preta by the per- 
formin?e of a shrdddJia. Tiie mulcti or 
salvation of a pre'a is in itself its death. 
This would prove pretax to be mortal. ^ 

Tile span of life of the hhnts and pretas 
is very long, but those whose descendants 
offer them the^ usual oblations gain their 
emancipation sooner. There is a Icund or 
spring called Zilanand ' in the vicinity 
of Jhinjhuvfida, on the banks of which 
is a temple of 2il ikesliwar !Mihadev. Tiie 
performin:;e of the p'ltri shrdddha h\ the 
side of this spring is believed to"expedite the 
emancipation of the spirits of the deceased 
from ghostly life. Every year, on the 
Bhddarvd amdvdsya^ that is, the new moon 
day of the month Bhddarvd^ a great fair is 
held on this spot, when people from long 
distances visit the place to get their rela- 
tives exorcised by the hhuvds or exorcists. 

It is believed, that though hhuts^ pretas and 
pishdchas are immortal, they are scared 



away by the sound of a Europi;an band and 
of other musical instruments.^ It is said 
that all drums and other weird instruments 
whether European or Indian, have the power 
of scaring away evil spirits. 

An evil spirit called Babaro had entered 
the person of the uncle of iMaldev the king of 
Jhalavjid much to the king's annoyance. 
Maldcv offered a stubborn fight to Babaro, 
who, unable to cope with Maldev, promised to 
extend iiis kingdom over those villages in 
which he would hang up bunting in one night. 
It is said that the present extent of the 
Jahlwad territories was due to king Maldev's 
enterprise in hanging up bunting over these 
territories as asked by Babaro.^ 

Though at the time of a man's death the 
faculties may hardly be sound, yet the 
vdrsand — the impressions — left on his mind 
by his past actions are in themselves good or 
bad enough to impress him so as to make his 
departing spirit assume a new form of life 
in keeping with them. For instance, a man 
following a particular profession becomes 
subject to dreams bearing on that profession. 
When the impression created by his actions 
in daily life is so deep as to induce dreams, 
his mind, even after death, leaves to his 
departing soul an inclination to be engaged 
in the subject of his mind's last activities. 
This is vdsand* 

It is a popular saying among Hindus that 
children inherit the nature of their parents. 
It is for this reason that high caste Hindus 
do not utter the names of their eldest sons. 
There is a further belief that the Pitrii/as 
departed from the world with certain desires 
unfulfilled reappear as descendants of their 
children to have these desires satisfied.* 

As the saying goes Pita putrena jdyate 
that is a father is born in the form of the 



' Shastri Bhayavadar Pathshala. 
' The School Master of Jodia- 



= The School Master of Todia. 
«A vdsann is thp ni,t;nmo\,f . ^ The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

supposed by some bm the resuU nf h- '''°°> ^°Z\°' I^^^ ^<=''°"^- I' '^ "»' the last desire'of a man as 
ir ItisLlievedthIt if at hLLem ","*r °,' ''^\--'^--SS of his mind during 

for his children, he is born as a derend^ltlf tX.i::g -^TT'schoorMasL'of ^^^^^^^ ^« ^^^ 



94 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



son, so the Pitrii/as arc born as descendants 
of their children, or according to the Bija 
frUcshciiii/di/a^ as a tree springs from its seed, 
that is, its offerings, so parents take birth 
as cliildrcn of their offspring.^ 

The Pilrli/as^ whose attachment to their 
cliildren or family or wealth does not die 
with them, reappea'r in the same family as 
descendants. It is also believed that persons 
dying with debts unpaid with the conscious- 
ness thU they must be paid, are reborn in 
this world for the discharge of their 
obligations. - 

It is not always that thePurvajas reappear 
in the same family. It is said about the 
departed spirits, that after undergoing 
punishment for their sins and enjoying the 
fruits of their good actions, they come down 
on earth again as drops of rain, and forming 
part of the grain whieh grows on rain water 
make their way into the wombs of animals 
and are thus reborn. •'■ 

On account of the community of their 
feelings, habits and ideas in previous birtliF, 
members of different families form difl'erent 
groups. The actions performed in this life 
keep them bound to one another either as 
recipients of the return of the obligations 
given in the past or as givers of fresh 
obligations. The members of a family stand 
thus to one another in the relation of debtors 
and creditors. It is for the discharge of these 
debts and recovery of dues that several 
individuals are united in a family. This 
naturally leads lo the members of a family 
taking birth again in the same family for the 
proper diseharge of debts. 

A virtuous child is declared to have been 
born to return the debts contracted in its past 
lives, and a vicious one to recover the dues.' 

When an atil or holy man or a recluse 
dies, his body is interred, and a platform 
rising ^^aist high from the ground, or a 



small dome-shaped temple, is built over the 
s])ot. This is called a samadh. An image 
of the god Shiva is generallj- installed in 
the sanuulh; but sometimes jjaduh-as i, e, 
the impressions on stone of the footsteps of 
the deceased, are inst'iUed instead. Instances 
of the latter are the paduluis of Dattatraya, 
Gorakha and Machchendra Natli. 

Both the Samadh and the image of the 
god Shiva as well as the piidithas installed 
therein, are worshipped by the people, M'ho, 
in course of time, give currency to the belief 
that the Samadh possesses certain miraculous 
powers, such as curing long-standing 
diseases, blessing barren women with ehild- 
ren, etc. Offerings are made to the Samadh 
by pious persons and festivals or fairs are 
held in its honour by the inhabitants of the 
village in which the Samadh. is located.'" 

Kabars or tombs raised over the graves of 
Mahomedan saints or Pirs are held in 
equal reverence both b)' Mahomedans and 
Hindus. To these offerings are made, and 
fairs are held in their honour. 

Some Samddhs and Kahars noted for 
miraculous powers are given below. 

1. Gorakhihlth : — The Samadh of 
Gorakhnath lies on Mount Girnar. It is 
said that when the word Salc'un is shouted 
by any one standing on the brink of the 
hollow wherein the Samadh is said to be, 
the word " Alcha, Alclca^ AleUa " is heard 
in response,'' 

2. Kevaldds ; — The Samadh of Keval- 
das stands in Susavav. It is told that, on 
one occasion, when a festival was being 
celebrated in honour of the Bava Kevaldas, 
a nimb tree ( Azadiarchta Indica ) overhang- 
ing the Samadh was transformed into a 
mitho Limbdo ( Ailantas excelsa ). 

3. The Samadh at Kanga ; — In the 
religious house at Kangil , a village in the 
Junagadh State, there lived a bava given to 



1 The Scliool Master of Ganod. 
?. Tlie School Master of Mota Devaliu- 
"'The School Master of Ganod. 



- The School Master of Dadvi. 
* The School Master of Charadwa. 
The School Master of Dhank and the School 
Mistress of Gondal,, 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



93 



religions austerities. It is said tliat lie 
took iScimddh* during life. This ■Samcidh is 
said to work mirac;les at times. 

4. Similarly, a bavfi in the religious 
house at Xavanagar called Shdrada Matha 
has taken a iSamddh duriuo- life, and his 
remains and the structure over them have 
become an object of worship. 

5. The Samddh of Laid hhakfa ; — Lalii 
bhakta was a native of Sfiyola. He was 
famous for his piety, and after his death his 
Samddh was deified. It is said in reference 
to this ■Samddh that a meal of dainty dishes 
prepared for five or six jiersons by its side, 
would satisfy the hunger of a company of 
fifty, if one happened to arrive there at the 
time of serving the meaU. 

6. Ddtdrt Pir:— The tomb of this Pir is 
situated on Mount Girnar. Almost all 
peojile in K;ithiawar and many from Gujarat 
offer vows to this Pir.- 

This Pir is also known by the name of 
Kalfi Yavan.' It is believed that he has 
the power of releasing the chain b^nds of 
a person falsely accused with an offence 
provided he approaches the Pir in chains. 
The sanctity of this Pir is so great that 
vows in his honour secure to persons desiring 
male heirs the birth of sons.* 

7. Asdmi Pir ;— The tomb of this Pir 
is in Lunar- He is believed to ensure the 
fulfilment of certain . vows made by those 
who have faith in hini.^ 

8. Devalshd Pir ;— The tomb of this 
Pir is situated at Amaran about seven miles 
from Todia. Many Hindus perform the 
first hair-cutting ceremony of their children 



at the shrine of this Pir with an offering of 
a sweet preparation of ghi, sugar or molasses 
and wheat flour. Tiie Muhamraadans distri- 
bute cooked rice among the Fakirs about 
this shrine. 

A tradition runs that, once seven eunuchs 
defied the power of this Pir saying that 
they would put no faith in him unless they 
conceived sons. This they did, and when 
in terror regarding their approaching 
confinement, they were told that the childrco 
would have to be taken out by cutting 
their bodies open. The tombs of these 
seven eunuchs and their sons still stand 
near the tomb of Devalsha to bear testimony 
to his glory and miraculous power.*' 

9. The Kahar of Ilaji Karmdni ; — Is. 
situated at Dwarkan and is much respected 
by both Hindus and Muhamaiadans.''' 

10. The tombs of Jesal and Toral ; — ■ 
These are said to be the tombs of a husband 
and wife of the names of Jesal and Toral. 
They are situated in An jar, a village in 
Cutch. It is said that originally these tombs 
were at the distance of twenty-seven feet 
from one another, but now the distance 
between them is only 7i feet. A belief is. 
current that the day of judgment will come 
when these two tombs meet.*' 

11. Hdj Pir and Gebdnshd Pir ; — The 
tombs of these Pirs are at Mendarda. Vows 
are offered to the Haj Pir (Pilgrims saint) 
with the object of securing a good rainfall 
after an unusual drought, also for the 
restoration of stolen property. Vows to 
the Gebansha Pir are believed to be effica- 
cious in curing foot diseases of cattle and 
skin diseases of children.'' 



* A samddh is taken during life in the following way. 

A deep pit is dug in ttie ground. The person who wishes to take a samddh goes into a deep trance by 
meditation, and then runs yelling and screaming to the pit, while drums are beaten furiously and a loud din 
is raised, so that none should hear a possible exclamation or cry from the runner. In the midst of this din the 
runner leaps into the pit and is covered over with salt and earth. An altar is raised over this spot wtth Shiva's 
image, which afterwards becomes an object of worship. It is believed that if a word or a cry from the runner 
is heard while he is taking the leap, the whole village will be destroyed. — Mr. K. D. Desai. 

' The Pathshala Shastri, Bhayavadar. 

t Datar means the great giver or munificent. The Pir is so cal'ed on account of his power of fulfilling 
the vows of many. 

= The School Master of Dhank. 3 The School Master of Movaiya. 

< The School Master of Dhank and Moti Parabdi. 5 The School Master of Dadvi. 

6 The School Master of Dadvi. 7 The School Master of Dadvi. 

" The School Master of Davalia. ' The School Master of Mendarda. 



96 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



12. Panch < ,■ Five Pirs ; — Tiic tombs of 
tl. ;se Pirs rre situated in Dahura, eai-h of 
I hem measuring about twenty-seven feet. 
A mirac'e is attributed to tliese tombs in 
tl a phenomenon tliat tlicy can never be 
accuniev' nieasii''ed, eacli atlcmpL at 
measurement giving a difl'crent result. 
Womrn whose sons die in infancy make 
vov I in honour of the Panch Pirs, and take 
i' 111 to their tombs on their attaining a 
certain age, where they observe fahiri* for 
ten days.^ 

13. Adlia Pir\ ;- Tl-a tomb of thio Pir 
lies on Mount Girnar. It is believed to 
possess the miraculous power of stopping 
the career of galloping horses and bringing 
tl ;m to ihe ground, and of stupefying the 
senses of a person who enters the slvlne.^ 

14 Miran Dcitiir; — The celebrated tomb 
of this Pir is in the village of Unjha near 
P roda, where a fair is held every Friday 
in Shravan. Persons possessed by evil spirits 
are said to be cur d by visiting this tomb 
and offering an image of a horse sti'fed 
with cotton, and a cocoanut. People from 
all parts of Gujarat and from distant places 
suffering from physical infirmities, obser' : 
vows in honour of this Pir. Some wear 
iron wristlets round their wrists in his 
honour.^ 

15. Pir Mdhabali ; — The tomb of this 
Pir is situated at Gotarka near Radhanpur. 
Every year a fair is held in honour of this 
tomb, when the chi'_-f Pujiiri of the shrine 
of Varalu goes there, holding in one hand a 
bayonet with its point touching his breist, 
and in the other, a cocoanul. It is said that 
when the Pujari reaches the third ^lep 



leading to the entrance of the shrine, the 
locked doors of the shrine fly open, and the 
Pujfi'i throws the cocoanut into ^1"; slirlne. 
If the shrine gates do not open of them- 
selves on his approicli, the Pujari has to 
stab himself to death I lien aird ther-.'' 

16. Kalu Pir; — It is said that this Pir 
leads a procession every night, when 
monstrous kettle-drums are beaten bj' his 
phantom followers. On every Friday this 
procession goes on its rounds, which cover a 
large area." 

Other tombs noted for miraculous powers 
are those of Gebalsha Pir in Charadwa, of 
Daria Pir in Morvi, of Hajarat P'r in 
B-ighdi^d and of Khoja Pir in Ajmere.'' 

The followers of the tenets of Swamin- 
narayan, Vallabhaeharya, Kabir, Shankar'i- 
charya, Ramanuja, Madhwacharya, Nimbark 
and Talo Bhagat look upon these pe ';ii- 
ages as god.'v and worship their images.'' 

Some of the spiritual teachers mentioned 
above n- ' "^ained large establishments and 
made their supremacy hereditary. Their 
representatives ( Hnt is either their heirs 
or disciples ) are looked upon as the embodi- 
ments of the same virtues as were concent- 
rated in tlie founders of the sects. The 
great teachers are worshipped either in the 
form of their footprints, their images or 
their representatives.'^ 

The worship of the following Muliam- 
mndan Pirs has been adojsted by Hindus : — 

(1) Datar Pir in Junagadh. 

(2) Dat"i-- in Rataiya near Kiilrasara. 

(3) Gobalsha Pir: — This Pir is notid for 

curing boils. 



* A symbol of servitude of tlie saint. » The School Master of Suhanpur. 

f Aiilia and Pir, synonymous terms, the first Arabic, the second Persian. Aulia is the Arabic plural of 
wall which means a saint. In Hindustani the plural form is used to signify the singular e. g., a single u-ali 
or saint is often spoken Of as an aulia. The word Pir originally meaning an old man is used in Hindustan 
in the sense of a saint. Aulia Pir is the Gujarjiti for a single or many saints. 

= The School Master of Moti Porabdi. ' Ti,e School Master of Zinzuwadfi. 

i Tlie School Master of Surel. 5 The School Master of Jaseluan. 

c The School Mas.er of Charadwa. ' The School Master of Dhank. 

s Mr. K. D. Desai. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



97 



(4) Tag Pir or the live saint near Bhaya- 

vadar: — This Pir is believed to have 
the power of curing enlargement of 
the spleen. Persons suffering from 
this disease go to his shrine ar.d dis- 
tribute dry dates among children. 
This is supposed to propitiate him 
and to effect the cure-^ 

(5) Miran Diitar: — Tlie miraculous ai;d 

curative powers of this Pir are so 
potent that blind persons are known 
to have their eye-sight restored and 
childless persons to have their long- 
ings for children satisfied through 
his favour. Persons possessed by 
evil spirits are exorcised by merely 
wearing a ring in his name.- 
The sliriue of this Pir is situated in the 
village of Unava in the Gaikwiir's territory 
in North Gujarat. His Highness the late 
Giiikwar Khanderao has fixed solid silver 
railings round the shrine of tliis Pir in 
gratitude for a cure effected by him. 

(6) Ramde Pir: — This Pir has obtained 

the epithet of Hindva Pir as he is 
worshipped mostly by the Hindus. 
He has worshippers in many places, 
where shrines are erected in his 
honour and verses and hymns com- 
posed and sung in his praise.^ He 
is evidently, as his name suggests, 
one of the first Khoja missionaries 
who practised teachings more Hindu 
than Musalman in oreler to secure a 
following among the- Hindu's. 

(7) Haji KarmJini near Dvarikhan. 

(8) The Davalsha Pir near Amariin. 

(9) The Lakad Pir and the Hussein Pir 

in the vicinity of Ganoel. 



(10) Mahabali Dada Pir:— Tiiis Pir is to 
be found close to the village of 
Varai. Milk offered to him in his 
shrine in indds (egg-shaped pots) is 
said to remain fresli for a vear. 
Similarly, tlie doors of his shrine 
open of themselves after the lapse of 
a year. 

(11) Mangaliu Pir:— Tliis Pir is worship- 
ped at Dadvi, 

(12) Moto Pir: — Is worshipped at 
Khandorana. 

(13) Hindva Pir:— Tliis is the Pir of the 
Khojas in Pirana near Ahmeehlbad. 
He is so called because he is 
worshipped by the Hindus also. 

(14) Bh.-.diadaro Pir; — Is in the village 
of Bhadia near Dhorali. 

(15) Ingarasha Pir and Balamsha Pir. 

(16) Tamialslia and Kjisauisha Pir: — 
The shrines of these Pirs are on the 
Girnar hill. ■* 

(17) Ganj Pir: — The shrine of this Pir 
is near Tcdia. Vows to offer a 
quarter of a pound of molasses to 
this Pir are believed to be efficacious 
in curing persons of fever and 
cliildren of their ailments.' 

There is a Pir in the village of Vadharduii 
near Viramgam. Persons suspected of 
having committed tliefts are conducted in 
chains before this Pir. It is said that, if 
the charge be false, the chains break asunder 
of themselves.'" 

Apart from the respect paid to the Pirs 
mentioned ; bovi , the Hindus hold in great 
reverence the tabids of the Muhammadans.' 



' The School Master of Devalia. - The School Masters of Dhank and Vanod. 

' The School Mistress, Female Training College, Rajkot. * The School Master of Moti Parabad-. 
5 The School Master of Todia. c The School Master of Lilapur. 

' Mr. K. D. Desai. 



98 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



There are various rural methods in vogue 
for the cure of barrenness. 

One of these is for the barren woman to 
swallow the navel-string of a new-born 
child.* Another is to partake of the ))re- 
paration called katlun.^ 

There are two kinds of preparations which 
go by the name of hatldn. One is prepared 
from seven pieces of dry ginger.- Tlic other 
is a mixture of suva* stinth (dry ginger), 
gitndar (gum arabic), gol (molasses) etc.^ 
In order to secure the desired eifect, tlic 
katlan must be eaten seven times every Sun- 
day or Tuesday seated on the cot of a woman 
in child-bed.'' 

The longing for a child is also believed to 
be satisfied by partaking of the food served 
to a woman, in confinement, sitting on her 
bed, either on a Sunday or Tuesday.^ 

There is also another preparation which is 
believed to cause conception. It consists of 
a mixture of pitpapdo (Glossocardi Bos- 
wellia), sugar-cane and butter. In order to 
be efficacious, it must be taken on seven con- 
secutive days commencing from the fourth 
day of the montlily menstrual period.*' 

Conception is also believed to be favoured 
by administering the gum of the babul tree 
dissolved in milk for three days commencing 
from the third day of the monthly period.*^ 

Some believe that, in order to be effective 
this mixture must be taken standing.^ In 
45ome places, seeds of a vegetable \Aant 
called shivnlangi are also administcrtd." 

To secure conception, a bit of cor.il is also 
eaten, withtlie face turned towards the sun.'' 



Other preparations taken with the belief 
that they cause conception arc : — 

(1) Ilardc (Myrobalan) put in kansar (a 
preparation of wheat flour cooked in water 
and sweetened with molasses), (2) extract 
of the fruit called sarungclha^ (3) paras 
pipalo (Thespesia populnea) mixed with 
clarified butter, * (+) gum mixed with 
plantains, (5) juice of the cooked leaves of 
the Arani (Elaeodendren glaucum),'-' (6) 
powder of Nag kesar (Messua ferrea) put 
into milk, and (7) the roots of Bhong ringdi 
(a kind of poisonous jilant) mixed with tlie 
milk of a cow.^" 

It is also believed that if a barren woman 
succeeds in carrying awaj- grains of rice 
from the folds of the upper garment of a 
prjgn:int woman^ and cats them coaked in 
milk, lier desire for a child is satisfied.^^ 

In celebrating the Shndnt or first preg- 
nancy ceremony of a woman, tlie pregnant 
woman is taken for a bath to a dung-hill or 
to a distance of about thirty yards behind tht- 
liouse. After the bath is over, she returns 
home walking over sheets of cloth spread on 
her way. On this occasion her company is 
coveted by barren women for the purpose of 
tearing off unseen a piece of her upper gar- 
ment, as this is believed to bring about 
conception. It is said tlint if a woman 
succeeds in doing this, she conceives, while 
the victim has a miscarriage. ^- 

Some believe that a slight pressure by a 
childless woman on the upper garment of a 
pregnant woman is sufficient to bring about 
the result mentioned above. ^^ 



' The School Master of Dhank. 

3 The School Master of Uptala. 

5 The School Master of Sultiinpur. 

^ The School Master of Dadvi. 

5 The School Mistress of Rfijkot, Civil Station 

Girls' Scohol. 
'■ The School Master of Dhank and Mr. K. D. Desai. 



■ The School Master of Chhatrasa. 

■ The School Mistress, Girls' School, Gondal. 
'' The School Master of Dhank. 

'^ The School Master of Ganod. 
1" The School Master of Bhayavadar. 
" The School Master of Sultanpur. 
'3 Tlie School Master of Dadvi. 



* An ingredient used in preparing spices. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



99 



Others hold that a slight blow on the 
shoulder of a pregnant woman by a childless 
woman satisfies the desire of the Intttr for 
a child.^ 

Conception is also said to be effected by 
branding children while at play in the 
streets. 2 

It is believed that this brand, to have 
efficacy, must be inflicted on a Sunday or 
Tuesday.- The operation is generallj' per- 
formed in the evening with a red-hot needle. 
It is said that the branded child dies while 
the branding barren woman conceives a 
child." 

Offering bread to black dogs is also sup- 
posed to be a cure for barrenness. 

Goncention is also favoured by passing 
under the bier or palanquin holding the corpse 
of an ascetic or holy man while it is being 
carried to the cemetery. * Some believe that 
such an ascetic or saint must be a follower of 
the Jain failh.^ Others maintain that the desir- 
ed end can be secured only bj' wearing round 
the elbows the grains of rice or coins offered 
to the bier of a saint on its way to the 
cemetery." 

Other methods practised for the cure of 
barrenness are as follows ; 

The barren woman cuts off a lock of the 
hair of a child-bearing woman and keeps it 
in her custody^ 

Some women collect the dust trodden on by 
a child-bearing woman in an earthen pot and 
eat it every day till it is exhausted. '^ 

Some throw grains of adad (Phaseolus 
mungo) over the bed of a woman in confine- 
ment.* 



Others daub their forelicads with the 
blood emitted by a woman in menses." 

There are some who pour water in a circle 
at !he village gate on a Sunday or Tuesday, 
and when in period, partake of the powder 
of mindhcd mixed with lapsi (coarse wheat 
flour fried in ghi and sweetened with 
molasses or sugar) seated on the threshold of 
the house.* 

Many wear round their necks leaves caUed 
bliojapatras on whicli the mystical figure 
given below is drawn by an exorcist. 







4 


2 


2 


3 


3 


4 

1 


3 


3 




24 




12 




3 


4 




24 


4 





12 



Pieces of paper on which the following 
jantra is written by an ascetic, woven in a 
string made of five kinds of silk, are also 
worn round tlie elbows ; — 

Swahd mim rhin kling sirahci. 

About a month and a quarter after the 
delivery of a womin. a ceremony called 
zarman sarvan is performed, when the woman 
goes to a neighbouring stream or well to 
fetch water for the first time after her deli- 
very. Near the stream or well five small 
heaps of sand are made and daubed with red 
lead. Next, a lamp fed with ghi is lighted, 
and seven small betelnuts are offered to the 



1 The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

3 Mr. K. D. Desai. 

5 The School Master of Jetpur. 

' The School Master of Vanod. 



2 Thi School Master of Ganod. 

* The School Masters of Kotda Sangani and Chhatrasa. 

6 The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohilwad. 

5 The School Masters of Dadvi and Chliatrasa. 



* It is for this eason that barren women are not allowed to approach the bed of a woman in child-bsd. 



100 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



stieam or well. A cocoanut is then broken, 

and a ))art of it is llirovii into tlie water as 
an oft'ei'ing. Next, the woman fills a jar 
with the water of the stream or well and 
returns Jionie, taking with her six out of the 
seven betilnuts oflVred :o tlie stream or well. 
On Irt way lionie she is approaehed by 
barren women wlio request to be favoured 
with one of the betelnuts, as it is believed 
tliat swallowing such a botelnut causes 
conception.! 

Some believe that onlj' the smallest of the 
seven betelnuts has the power of producing 
this result^. Others hold tiiat this betelnut 
must be swallowid on the threshold of a 
house.^ 

Eating cocoa-kernel and molasses sitting 
on the thresliold of the house on the fourtii 
day of the monthly ])eriod is also believed 
to be a remedy for the cure of barrenness. 

Placing a box containing a hori^ ( a small 
silver coin ) on a spot where three roads 
cross one another is also said to favour 
conception.^ 

In some j)laces, a black earthen pot 
containing charcoal and grains of adad 
( Phaseolus mungo ) is placed on a spot where 
two roads cross one another, on a Sundaj' 
or Tuesday. On this day the barren woman 
has to take her meals without salt.'' 

Cutting off a lock of a child's hair and 
keeping it in custody is also believed to 
satisfy the longing of a barren woman for a 
clsild. Tliis result can also be obtained by- 
securing a piece of a garment of a suckling 
child. 

Sr.n:e worship daily a cocoanut i\n\ a 
betelnut consecrated with incantations.'' 



Some take a bath on the third day of 

their ])erio(l, and st.iiid on liie tiireshold 
of the house with their hair sprinkled over 
with kanlcotri ( red jiowder ). Next, a ^/(/-fed 
lamp is offered to the deities, and the devotee 
))rostrates herself before the lamp.'' 

It is also believed that barrenness can be 
cured by religious vows, by offering alms in 
propitiation of malignant jjlanets such as 
Mars, and by reciting tile jnp or incantation 
called gopal sunidn to jile-ise the deity of 
that name.-'' 

One of tile religious vows of this nature 
is to observe, fasts on twelve consecutive 
Sundays or Tuesdays. On these days the 
devotee fixes her gaze on tlie sun .md offers 
him worship, after which she takes a meal 
prepared in milk without salt or sugar. ^ 

Some hold a recitation of tlie cJiandi kaiuich 
a hundred times througJi Brahmans witli 
sacrificial oblations of clarified butter, sesa- 
mum seed, kamod ( ,i kind of rice ), gugal 
(rhododendron), sandal wood and sugar- 
candy.'" Others have the story of the 
Ilarivansha recited on seventeen consecutive 
d;iys, during which period the devotee (i.e., the 
barren woinin ) observes hrahmacliari/a that 
is abstains from sexual enjoyment. This cere- 
mony is believed to exorcise the fiend of 
barrenness.!" 

Some keep a vow of standing on their legs 
for tlie whole day on the fourteenth of the 
month of Phcilgiin (the fifth month of the 
Gujarat Hindu year ) and of breaking their 
fast after worship))ing the sacred jjyre.^^ 

There is another vow called the Ptinema or 
full-moon day vow, the observance of which 
is believed to favour the birth of a son.^- 



» The School Master of Todia. 

3 The School Master of Luvaria. 

5 The School Master of Rujpara. 

7 The School Master of Jlnnjhuwada. 

^ The School IMaster of Kotda Sangani. 

" The School Master of Tcdia. 



- The School Master of Mota Devalia. 
■• The School Master of Chhatrasa. 
'' The School Master of Khirasara. 
^ The School Master of Dlulnk. 
" The School Master of Ganod. 
1- The Schcol Mr-ster of Ganoc'. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



101 



Pouring water at the root of, or circumam- 
bulating, a pipal or babul tree after a bath 
without removing the wet clothes, is also 
believed to cause conception.^ 

Some observe the vow of entertaining 
thirteen Brahmans and thirteen virgins to a 
feast, and of setting u|3 Randal JBantva.- 
Women whose children die in infancy give 
them opprobrious names such as Kliacliaro 
< filth ), Ghelo ( stupid), Natiio, Uko, Ukardo, 
Bodlio, Pujo, Adavo, Mongho, Tulhi, Tutho, 
Kadavi, etc. in the belief tliat by so doing 
the life of the children is lengtliened." 
The idea is almost Asiatic in extent. 
Among Musalmans also such names are 
given ; and even among the Persians and Arabs 
boys are given such names as Masriequ and 
Osaid — the Stolen and the Black. Sometimes 
parents arrange that their childern be actually 



stolen ; and some next of kin, generally the 
aunt, is made to commit the kindly felony. 
She afterwards returns the child for a certain 
amount in cash or clothes. The custom is 
as old as the scrijjtures, there being an 
allusion in the Koriin to liow the little 
Jose]jh Was made to steal some garment of 
his aunt and was claimed as a forfeit by her. 
Speaking about Levi, the older brothers of 
Joseph say to the Egy|)tian soldiers, " If he 
hath stolen ( tlie king's goblet ) verily the 
brother of his too did ( formerly ) steal. '" 

Some make a vow of not cutting the hair of 
their children till they are taken to Ambaji, 
where their hair is cut for the first time.^ 

Some treat their children as beggars until 
they attain the age of five years, that is, they 
are dressed till that age in clothes obtained by 
begging. Some bore the nose of the child. * 



' The School Master of Chhairasd. 
' The School Master of Ganod. 



- The School Master of Khirasara. 
* The School Master of Todia. 



CHAPTER V. 

jrORSHIP OF THE MALEVOLENT DEAD. 



The beliefs current as to the cause of 
dreams are many. One of these is that 
memory of known facts or incidents heard 
or seen causes dreams, Dreams are also suj)- 
posed to be caused by disorders in the brain, 
by brooding constantly over a jjarticular 
occurrence, by anxiety or by the perpetration 
of sinful acts.i Those who are indebted 
to the pUris (ancestral spirits) are also 
said to be troubled by dreams.- A hearty 
meal at night just before going to bed is 
also supposed to cause dreams.-^ 

There are three conditions of human ex- 
istence, (1) Jiigriti that is wakefulness (2) 
Swapna that is dream and (3) SusMpti 
that is sleep. The incidents w-liich impress 
the mind strongly during w^akefulness are 
reproduced in dreams. Yevy often thoughts 
rtiat never occur to our minds strike us in 
dreams. These are ascribed to the impres- 
sions made on Uie soul during past lives, ^ 

It is said that the interpretation of dreams 
goes by contraries. But at times they are 
fully borne out. A good dream is an in- 
dication of future good, and a bad one of 
future evil.'^ 

There are some persons whose dreams are 
always fulnlled. Dre.ims dreamt by persons 
pure of mind and heart seldom turn out false. 



Dreams occurring in the first (juarter of the 
night arc believed to be fulfilled in a year, 
those in the second quarter of tlie niglit in six 
months, those in tlie third quarter in tliree 
months, and those in the last quarter in one 
montli. A dream seen during an hour and 
a half before daybreak bears fruit in ten 
days, while that seen just at day-break is rea- 
lised immediately.'' 

Dreams that occur bclore midnight are 
never fulfilled/ 

If a person has a bad dream, hi- should go 

to sleep at once, and not communicate it to 

any one. If he has a good dream, he sliould 

not sleep on that night after its occurrence. 

Earl}' on the following morning he should 

communicate it to a preceptor or saint; but 

if neither be available, he should repeat it 

into the ears of a cow. A good dream should 

never be told to a bad or low-mindid person. 

If a man sleeps after a good dream and has 

a bad one, the former loses its force while 

the latter gains ascendancy and conies true.'' 

It is related that Allauddin the bloody once 

entered the house of a blacksmith when the 

latter was asleep dreaming that he saw a 

treasure trove after having bathed in a 

stream and drunk a little water. At the 

same time Allauddin saw a small insect come 



» The School Master of Chhatrasa. 
3 The School Master of Dadvi. 
5 The School Master of Dhank, 
r The School Master of Ganod. 



» The School Master of Dhank. 
^ The School Master of Ganod. 
8 The School Master of Chhatrasa. 
8 The School Master of Chhatrasa. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



103 



out of the blacksmith's nostril, drink water 
from a neighbouring cistern, and return to 
the place from whence he came. When the 
dream was over, the blacksmith woke and com- 
municated it to Allauddin, which enabled the 
latter to spot the treasure, found b\- excavat- 
ing the place where tlie insect was hidden. i^ 

The king Xala was questioned in Iiis sleep 
several times by an individual unknown to 
him, ''Aray I come now or later V Nala re- 
plied "Come now" thinking that if it was 
misfortune that put liim the question, it 
would be better to get rid of it soon, so that 
the latter pari of life might be passed 
happily. Tlie questioner proved to be mis- 
fortune, and it is related that Xala met many 
mishaps during his youth. ^ 

Similarly, a bad dre;uu dreamt by Haris- 
chandra was followed by a series of 
calamities. 1 

Rjivan, the demon king of Lanka or Ceylon, 
had a dream in the third quarter of the night 
that Lanka was destroyed, and the destruc- 
tion of Lanka followed.- 

To see or think or experience in dreams 
tlie following, as the case may be is con- 
sidered to be auspicious : — 

(1) A cow, {2) a bullock, (3) an 
elephant, (4) a palace, (5) a mountain, (6) 
a high peak, (7) the droppings of a bird, 
(>) ointment, (9) weeping, (10) a king, (11) 
gold, (12) the crossing of the ocean, (13) a 
lamp, (14) flesh, (15) fruit, (16) a lotus, (17) a 
flag, (18) the image of one's favourite god, 
(19) a saint, (20) a Brahman, (21) an 
ancestral spirit. (22) a white snake biting 
the right side, (23) a flowering tree, (24) 
climbing a tree- (25) climbing tlie Rciyan 
(Mirausops hexandra), (26) a woman dressed 
in while, (27) walking over a layer of lead, 
(28) lifting a goblet filled with wine, (29) 
a lion, (30) the goddess of wealth', (31) a 



garland, (32) driving in a carriage to which 
an elephant, a lion, a horse or a bullock is 
yoked, (33) swallowing the disc of the sun 
or the moon, (34) the hands or feet of a 
man, (35) worship of a deity, (36) barley. 
(37) rice, (38) sandal paste. (39) the Dro 
grass (Cynodon Dactylon), (40) the moon, 
(41) the sun, (42) a goblet, (43) an ocean of 
milk, (44) jewels, (45) smokeless fire, (45) 
an image of the god Shiva, Brahma or 
Ganesli or of the goddess Gauri, (47) a 
celestial vehicle, (48) the heaven, (49) 
the Kalpavriksha or the magic tree 
that satisfies all desires, (50) a river in 
floods, (51) fish, (52) curdled milk, (53) 
going on a pilgrimage, (54) ornaments, 
(55) crossing a river, (56) eating the 
flesh of a man's legs or flowers.'^ 

To sec in a dream (1) a person leading a 
life of celibacy, (2) a virgin, (3) a green 
tree, (4) or students returning from school, 
is also considered to foretell good fotune.^ 

Similarly, the sight of an unwidowed 
woman and the thought of the death of any 
person, in a dream, is believed to bring good 
luck.^ 

A dream in which one of the following 
objects is seen is also supposed to- be good : — ■ 

1. An assemblage of Briihmans, (2) a 
gardener, (3) milk, (4) a prostitute, (5) a 
shield and sword, (6) a musket, (7) a scimitar, 
(8) an antelope, (9) an unwidowed woman 
carrying on her head a jar filled with water, 
(10) a mongoose, (11) a peacock, (12) a 
woman carr3'ing a child on her waist, (13) 
newly-washed dry clothes, (14) a costlj' fan, 
(15) a man dressed in white clothes.''' 

In a book called Harit.sanhita the subject 
of the influence of dreams on human happi- 
ness or misery is fully treated. 

The book says : — If the sun, the moon, 
the congregation of the stars, a lake filled 



1 Thie School Master of Dhdnk. 
3 The School Master of ChhatrSsa. 

5 The Schol Master 



= The School Master of Todia. 
4 The School Master of Ganod. 
of Kolki, 



104 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



witli clusters of expanded lotuses, or crossing 
the sea or a river lull of water be seen or 
experienced in a drcain hy a man, lie attains 
wealtli, happiness and pr()S))erity and relief 
from diseases. 

" If a cow, a horse, an elijiliant, a king or 
a flower called prashasta is seen in a dream 
by a sickly person, liis illness disappears; if 
by one laid in sick bed, he is cured ; if bj- one 
confined in a jail, he is released." ^ 

If a child grinds its teeth and weeps in a 
dream, it indicates liquidation of pecuniary 
liabilities. One who sees a man die in a 
■dream is blessed with longevity. - 

A bite by a white snake in a dream is an 
omen of increase of wealth.-' 

" All black objects except a cow, a horse, 
a king, an elephant, and fish, seen in a dream, 
are the precursors of disease and calamity.'' 

" One who sees in a dream his bodj' devoured 
by crows, herons, camels, serpents, boars, 
eagles, foxes, dogs, wolves, asses, buffaloes, 
birds moving in tiie sky, tigers, fishes, alliga- 
tors or monkeys, experiences in the immediate 
future a heavy loss or a terrible disease.' 

The following objects seen, heard or experi- 
enced in a dream are believed to forebode 
evil : — 

1. Cotton, (2) ashes, (3) bones, (4) whey, 
(5) singing, (6) merriment, (7) laughing, (8) 
studying, (9) a woman dressed in red, (lU) 
a red mark on the forehead, (11) a gandharva 
or heavenly bard, (12) a demon, (13) a 
wizard, (14) a witch, (15) a prickly shrub, 
(16) a cemetery, (17) a eat, (18) vomiting, 
(19) darkness, (20) a hide, (2l) a woman 
witli a bad reputation, (22) thirst, (23) a 
contest between two planets, (24) fall of a 
luminous body, (25) a whirlwind, (26) 



vishotak ( a disease in which the skin is 
covered with ulcers ) (27) one carrying away 
one's vehicle, wife, jewels, gold, silver or bell- 
metal utensils, (28) the breaking of one's own 
house (29) the drinking of a poisonous 
liquid.^' 

If in a dream one relishes a dish of 
sweetmeats, plays upon a musica' instrument, 
or sees a widow dressed in the garment of 
an unwidowed woman, it is believed to 
prognosticate evil and bring misfortune. 

Similarly, if in a dream, the sleeper 
marries or hears the crowing of a crow or tlie 
bark of a dog, or an owl sjieak like a man, it 
])ortends misfortune " 

Seeing an auspicious mark, or bathing 
in or being besmeared with oil, in a dream, 
is an indication of one's death in the near 
future. Going to the south riding a he- 
buffalo, or seeing a widow, brings on 
misfortune. '^ 

If a man in health comes across a corpse 
in a dream, he apprehends illness. If a 
patient does the same, he fears deatli.^ 

It is a common belief that the soul can 
leave the body temporarily. 

When a man feels thirsty in sleep, liis soul 
is supposed to leave the body to drink water, 
and if it finds the water pots covered, 
not to return to the body, which is found 
dead the next morning.* It is for this 
reason that most people drink water at the 
time of going to bed.^ 

Sliankaraeharya was a life long celibate. 
Once, in a discussion with the wife of Mandan 
Mishra, she put to liim a question on the 
subject of the pleasures of married life. 
To answer the question it was necessary to 
have the experiences of a married life. To 



' The Shastri, BbaySvadar Pathashala. 
3 The School Master of Gondal. 
'' The School Master of Chhatrasa. 
^ The School Master of Dadvi, 



» The School Master of Todia. 
^ The Shastri, Bhayavadar Pathshala. 
^ The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
' The School Master of Gondal. 



» The School Master of Dhank. 
* The Musalman Haditte has it that spirits cannot open closed doors, uncover covered pots, or 
even remove a piece of cloth if it is spread over a tray or vessel to save its contents from view. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



105 



gain these experiences Sliiinkaracluirya's 
soul left his body and entered the corpse 
of a king just dead, and enjoyed the pleasures 
of married life for six months in the company 
of the queen of the deceased king. It then 
returned to hi-; body, wliich was preserved by 
his disciples according to his instructions, 
and answered the question put to him by tlie 
•wife of Mandan Mishra.i 

It is related that the spirit of the daughter 
of a black-smith in Luvaria returned to her 
body two hours after her death, after wliicli 
she lived for a fortnight. 

A similar story is told of a Nagar Brah- 
man, who live:! for some years after the 
return of his sjiirit to his bod}'.- 

About forty years ago, tlie corpse of a 
Kanbi in Lilapur was carried to the burning 
ground for cremation, and there his spirit 
returned to liis body- On being asked where 
he had been, the Kanbi replied that he liad 
been to Dharmaraja, the lord of hell, who 
told him to go back to his body, saying that 
his life's thread had not yet ended. It is 
related that the Kanbi lived for some years 
after this incident. 

Another instance of the soul departing and 
tlien returning to the body is that of a Kanbi 
woman in Lilapur, wliose soul returned to 
the body after slie had been carried to tlie 
burning ground. Tlie woman lived for five 
years after this occurrence.^ 

A Brfdiman in Limbdi named Vaijnfitli 
had, by the iserformance of y^ga, obtained 
the power of sending liis spi-it out of his 
body and recalling it at pleasure.* 

The soul of a li\ing Toeing leives its 
physical tabernacle dari'.ig sleep and hovers 
about. It can go tj and return from even 
the heavenly and infernal regions. 



There are eighteen kinds of siddJiis or 
accomplishments, one of which is parahdya- 
pravcsh or the power of entering the body 
of anotlur and returning to one's own bodv 
at will. The soul cannot exist separated 
from the body. When a person who revives 
after death is asked liow he returned to life, 
he declares that he has been carried to the 
presence of the god of deatli by his messen- 
gers, being mistaken for another bearing the 
same name and living in the same locality. 
Wlien su."h a mistake is detected, tlie god of 
death tells the soul of tlie man concerned that 
liis life's sjiaii Ins not yet ended, and sends it 
back to the body, which appears to be 
dead.'' 

Often the soul of a man ascends to his 
temples, when the man is supj^osed to be dead 
aUhouigh he is alive. In such cases, when 
the soul descends, the man is supposed t) 
come to life again. 

It is believed by some people that if all 
the desires of a man are not satisfied at the 
time of his death, his soul leaves the body to 
satisfy them and subsequently returns to the 
corpse, whereupon the body revives.'' 

A devotee in his meditative trance can send 
forth his soul whithersosver he pleases." 

It is also believed that the soul of man 
leaves the body in sleep to enjoy those 
pleasures which it cannot enjoy in wakeful- 
ness.'' 

The popular conceptions of the character 
and functions of the hliut or disembodied 
soul are as follows : 

A ghost has no recognised form. It may 
assume the form of a human being, a goat, a 
blaze of fire, a whirl-wind or any other 
object it pleases. '■* 

Some assume a terribly gigantic and 
feirfully uncouth frame, with big fang-like 



1 The School Master cf Dhank. 
3 The School Master of Lilapur. 
5 The Scl*)ol Master of Vanod. 
7 The School Master of Kolki. 



= The Schcol Master of Luvari i. 
■1 The School Master of Ganod. 
'• The School Maste- of Dadvl, 
s The School Master cf Mojidiid. 



5 The School Maste' of Dhank. 



106 



THE FOLKLOltE OF GUJARAT 



teeth, long matted h.iii- .ind a lieiglit thai 
reaches the sky. At times they assume the 
lorm of a ehild and ery hearl-breakingly at 
a concealed corner of a road. Sliould a 
passer-bj", out of conip.-ission, try to save it, 
the supposed infant begins to lengthm 
its legs to show its benefactor its real and 
supernatural dimensions. Sometimes it trans- 
forms itself into a gigantic and terrible being, 
taking possession of the man if he becomes 
afraid.^ 

Some evil spirits manifest themselves as 
showers of burning charcoal, while some are 
so forward as to offer their services as guides 
to strangers from one village to another. 
Some assume the form of Bhensasiir—n demon 
in the form of a buffalo— sa'd to be a most 
malignant ghost. ^ 

The throat of a ghost is as narrow as the 
fine end of a needle, and yet it is believed to 
require a dozen potfuls of water to quench 
its thirst. It cannot get pure water, as such 
■water is guarded by the god Varuna. It has, 
therefore, to quench its tliirst with sucli 
dirty water as it can get. Similarly, it can- 
not get clean food, and has to satisfy its 
hunger on human excretions, the droppings 
of birds and other animals, urine, and the 
filth of houses.^ 

It is generally believed that evil spirits do 
not cast shadows. All attempts to catcli 
*hcm prove futilr, as they vanish in the form 

of a flame.'' 

If it is sought to catch hold of a goat-shaped 
ghost, the goat swells into such a monstrous 
size that the spectator gets terrified, where- 
upen the ghost finds an opportunity of 
disappearing in a flame. 

It is believed that ghosts prefer dark- 
ness to light and silence to noise. Tlicy 



' The School Master of Kollu. 

3 The School Master of Ganod. 

5 The School Masters of Sanka and Songadh 

7 The S;hool Master of Dhank. 

9 The School Master of Vanod, 



live on tlie f'ipal ( Tieus religiosa ) or 
Shami ( Prosopis spieigcra ) trees.'' 

A ghost presents itself to tlie vision of a 
man by blocking its way in the form of a 
goat or some otlier animal.'' 

Ghosts arc believed to infest woods, 
unused wells, cellars and old tanks. They 
are also fcnind in ruins and cemeteries. As 
far as possible they keep themselves aloof 
from mortals; but at times they are visible 
to human being.s, mostly to those destitute of 
religion and morals. They roam about and 
terrify people. Sometimes they enter the 
persons of human beings. Sueii men citiier 
gain in strengtli, fall sick, or become sense- 
less. The ghosts who possess them make them 
laugh or work, without being fatigued, with 
ten times the vigour they originally jiosses- 
sed.^ 

Ghosts keep their persons unrovered, 
feed upon flesh and blood, sleep during 
the day, and roam about at nisht.® 

Often a large concourse of ghosts meet 
together and dance, sing and make merry 
uttering loud and fierce slirieks. A ghost 
has no back, and has its feet reversed. It 
keeps away from man, but terrifies him by 
pelting him with stones from a distance." 

On the fourteenth day of the dark half of 
Ashi'iii ( the twelfth month of the Gujarati 
Hindu year ) all ghosts are believed to go 
about playing pranks witli poor mortals and 
possessing tliem.^" 

The Navarcitra iiolidays is tl:e season when 
ghosts appear in many places.^ ^ 

Giiosts enter corpses or possess liuman 
beings and speak through tliem as a medium. 
Sometimes they assume their original Iiuman 
form, and often torment people witli disease. 



' The School Master of Dadvi. 
4 The School Master of BfuUva. 
" The School Master of Charadva. 
i^ The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
'0 The School Master of Kolki. 



" The School Master of Lilapur, 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



107 



They present themselves as animals and pass 
away in a blaze. They lium in the air with- 
out being seen, wrestle with men or carry 
unseen human beings from one place to 
another. Some women are believed to con- 
ceive by intercourse with male ghostsA 

If a man happens to step in the circle 
described by water round the oifering given 
to a ghost, viz., «/«?-, he is possessed by the 
ghost. A house haunted by a ghost is the 
scene of great mischief .^ 

Gliosis are said to be most mischievous 
during the first part of the night. Their 
fury diminishes with tlie advance of night. ^ 

Ghosts are inimical to human beings, terrify 
them, and son^etinies, assuming the form of 
a cobra, kill t::ose wliom they hated most 
during life.* 

They are pleased with ofl'erings of blocd.^' 

To throw stones at houses and trees and to 
set them on fire are their usual pranks. ^ 

The ghost called Jan manifests itself as a 
giant, its height reaching the sky. If a man 
comes under its shadow, he is seized bj' it and 
dashed to pieces on the ground. On the 
contrary, if a man wins its favour, he becomes 
prosperous. Hence a proverb has been 
current that " seizing another as by a jan " 
meaning " being attacked hy a dire misfor- 
tune. "* 

There is a female ghost called Chiidel, 
Its back is covered with flesh, its feel are 
reversed, its form is hollow and its face 
handsome like that of a charming woman. '^. 

It is said that a woman dying in childbed 
becomes a chudel. Her form is a skeleton 
behind with the figure of a pretty woman in 
front. 



It is believed that mastery over ghosts can 
be obtained by dint of incantations or 
mantras. Those who subjugate ghosts in this 
way have power to command them to do 
their behests. But the jirocess by which 
such powers are procured is believed to be 
beset with dangers, and many lose their lives 
in so doing.* 

There is also a belief tliat a hhtit or ghost 
can be brought under control by lopping ofi^ 
a lock of its hair or top knot and keeping it 
in one's custody.^ 

It is said that this lock ought to be kept 
inside the right thigh by tearing a hole in the 
flesh. It is believed that the thigh can be cut 
open by a hair of the ghost without injury.^** 

The ghost so subjugated should never be 
kept unemployed ; otherwise it oppresses its 
master. ^1 

It is believed that the spirits of deceased 
persons became ghosts under tlie following 
condtions : — 

1 If scriptural ceremonies are not per- 
formed with the ce" enionial offerings of rice 
balls to the deceased. 

2 If the deceased dies with a strong 
attachment to worldly objects. 

3 If tlie death is unnatural tliat is, caused 
by an accident. 

All ghosts get absolution by the perfor- 
mance of propitiative ceremonies by their 
descendants as prescribed in the scriptures. ^^ 

There arc various beliefs current as to 
the state of the soul after death. The 
'Garud puran contains many passages illus- 
trating its movements after it leaves the body. 
Says the book : — 

"When the soul leaves the body it assumes 
a form as small as a thumb. At this very 



1 The School Master of Ganod. 
' The School Master of Kolki 
5 The School Master of Khirasara, 
' The School Master of Dhank. 
9 The School Master of Dadvi. 
" The School Master of Gondal. 



- The School Master of Dadvi. 

1 The School Master of Oman. 

" The School Master of Rajpjira. 

8 The School Master of Vanod. 
i» Mr. K. D. Desai. 
1- The School Master of Ganod. 



* The word Jdn is the plural of the Arabic jimii. It has remained as a relic of Arab supremac\ 
and occupation of the Kathiawar coast just in the beginning of Islam during its first conquests — aboui 
half a century after the Prophets" death. 



108 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



moment it is caught bj' the servants of 
Yama wliiU- he is crying out hn ! ha ! hioking 
at its corporal receptacle. '' 
And again : — 

" Covering the iuidy of the soul ( which 
suffers intensely ) and strangling it forci- 
bly, the servants of the god Yama carry it 
away just as a culprit is carried by a king's 
soldiers. " 

The verses tliat follow describe the miseries 
inflicted upon tlie poor thumb-shaped soul 
for the sins comuiittid by him during his life- 
time. The sinful soul has to undergo similar 
miseries in hell. From hell it returns to this 
world guarded by the servants of Yama, to 
partake of tlie rice-balls and other articles of 
food offered by the sons or other relatives. 
It is then again taken to hell to suffer more 
miseries and penalties in expiation of past sins. 
Then it returns once more bo receive the offer- 
ings of rice-balls made at shrdddha ceremonies^ 
If, even after this, any desires remain 
unfulrilled, it has to continue a wretched 
existence in the otiier world. ^ 

In a chapter of the Prcliimanjari of the 
Garud Pumn jt is stated that tlic souls of 
righteous men go to the next world unmolest- 
ed .2 

Some people believe that the departing 
soul assumes a form like a thumb, and 
remains in that state until relieved by the 
performance of shntddha by liis heirs. It 
then enters the other world to enjoy the 
fruits of its good actions. The Yamapuri 
or tlic city of the god of deatli is 8,6' 
Yojans — a 1 djan being equ.il to four miles — 
to the .«outli of tlie eartli. The lord of 
this place is Dharmaraja. Yama is his 
servant, whose duty is to carry the saul from 
one place lo another." 

Others maintain that two states await the 
soul after death according to whether it 

' Ttie Shrvstri, Bhriyfivadar Prithshiila 
■" The School Master of Ganod. 



has performed righteous or sinful acts dur- 
ing life. 

The righteous attain to lieaven and enter 
the Pdrshad Va'ikunia of Vishnu. The 
sinful go to hell or Yamaloka,^ 

The sinful souls go to Yamuloha and arc 
made to suffer the miseries of twenty-eight 
nurahs or hells in proportion to the sins 
perpetrated by them, after which they return 
to the earth. 

The following are some of the punishments 
meted out (o wicked souls for their sins, in 
their next lives : — 

1 Those who murder Brahmans suffer 
from consumption. 

2 Those who slaughter cows are born as 
tortoises. 

3 Those guilty of female infanticide 
I suffer from white leprosy. 

4 One who kills his wife, as well as a 
woman guilt}' of causing abortion, becomes 
a beggar. 

5 Those who commit adultery become 
impotent. 

6 He who seats himself on the bed or 
seat of liis preceptor is affected by skin 
diseases. 

7 Flesh-eaters get a red bod}'. 

■8 Those who indulge in drink get black 
teeth. 

9 A Braliman paitaking of prohibited 
food suffers from dropsy. 

10 One who eats sweets without sliarina 
them with the by-slanders suffers from 
cancer in the throat. 

11 One who oti'ers i>()lluted food to 
departed spirits suffers from black leprosy. 

12 One who disobeys and despises liis 
teacher suffers from wind apasmcir. 

13 One who does not believe in the 
shastras suffers from enlargement of the 
spleen or Briglit's disease. 

14 A j)erjurer is horn dumb. 

' The School Master of Dhank. 
* The D. E. Inspector, Hfilar. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



109 



15 One who does not serve food equally 
to all the members at a dining table loses 
one of his eyes. 

16 Those who break off a marriage 
alliance are punished with thick ( negro- 
like ) lips. 

17 Those who steal books lose their 
eye-siglit. 

18 He who kicks a Brahman becomes 
lame. 

19 A liar becomes a stammerer. 

20 Those who listen to contradictory 
versions of what is generally believed to be 
true become deaf. 

21 One wlio poisons another becomes a 
lunatic. 

22 One who steals precious metals 
becomes indigent. 

23 An incendiary is jiuiiished with a 
bald head. 

24 Meat-sellers meet with misfortunes. 

25 One who steals gold lias his nails 
deformed. 

26 He who steals food is born a mouse. 

27 One stealing corn has to be reborn 
as a locust. 

28 One stealing opium or other poisonous 
drugs is born a scorpion. 

29 One who steals leaves or vegetables 
is born a peacock. 

30 One who enjoys perfumes by stealing 
them is born a mole. 

31 One who steals honey becomes an 
eagle. 

32 One who steals flour, rice., etc. is 
born a monkey.^ 

The state of the soul after death depends 
upon a man's good or bad actions in life. 

Tlie souls of the righteous leave the body 
witliont an}' trouble. The messengers of 
tlie god of death present themselves to these 
souls in the form of saints and carry them 
to that part of the heaven which is presided 
over by their favourite deity, by the eastern, 



northern, or western gates. They are recei- 
ved there with great respect. Here they 
enjoy the fruits of their merit, after which 
they return to this world and are born either 
in the family of a wealthy virtuous man or 
in that of a poor Brahman who has attained 
the knowledge of God. In this new life they 
accumulate further merit, in virtue of which 
they are endowed with a higher spiritual 
life in the following birth, and so on until 
they attain final emancipation. 

After attaining mohsha or salvation the 
soul becomes free from the wheel of birth 
and rebirth. 

To the souls of the sinful, who leave their 
bodies with a great struggle, the messengers 
of the god of death present themselves in a 
terrible form. They are carried to hell by 
the southern gate, being constantly lashed 
on the way. There they are relegated to 
one of the twenty-eight pits ( of hell ) 
appropriate to their misdeeds, to suffer 
retribution for their sins.^ 

The soul is carried to Dharmaraja after 
it leaves the body. Thence, with the per- 
mission of the god, it returns to this world 
and halts for thirteen days at the tlireshold 
of its house. On the thirteenth day an 
earthen, jar filled with water is emptied on a 
pipal tree ( Ficus religiosa ) after which its 
connection with this world ceases. Then 
it returns to the heavenly judge of actions 
( Dharmaraja ), and is again born in the 
species prescribed by him. The soul of a 
strictly spiritual being merges into the 
divine entity ai;d becomes free from birth 
and rebirth. 

Mohsha or Mukti^ that is final emancipat- 
ion is of two kinds, sdyujj^ vr merging 
into the divine form and samishya or enter- 
ing the divine order and living in this stale 
so long as one's merits allow.^ 

Dharmaraja keeps an account of the 
good and bad actions of all men in his book 



I The Shiistri, Pathshala, Bliiiyavadar. 



2 The School Master of Dhank. 



no 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



•called .siilillii hardily and dispenses justice 
according to it. A man guilty of adultery 
Is sentenced to embrace a redliot image of 
a woman ; one who has slaughtered animals 
is devoured by those animals; while those 
wlio have committed tlie sin of murdering 
lirahmans are relegated to hell for ever.^ 

There are seven rungs to the ladder 
wliich leads to the next world. The firslj is 
covered with a tliick forest. The second 
bristles with pointed spears. The third is 
strewn witl» gokhani (a species of thorns ). 
Tlie fourth has piercing blasts. On the 
fifth runs tlie river V'aitarna. The sixth is 
full of red-hot iron. The seventh is covered 
"with deep streams.^ 

After death, the soul has to cross the 
river Vaitarna ( vide the fifth rung above ) 
on its waj- to the next world. Those who 
have given cows in charity can cross tliis 
Tiver without difficulty by holding the tails 
•of the cows, who present themselves to lielp 
them. 

Tliose who have given shoes in charity 
can tread the third step with ease. 

Tl.e sinful Iiave to walk barefooted on 
ground studded with pointed spears, and to 
embrace red-hot iron pillars. It is with the 
■object of avoiding these miseries that people 
distribute shoes and clothes in charity." 

The sinful expiate their sins by passing- 
through a cycle of 8,400,000births. '■' They 
ha\e to l)e born 2,10O,C0O limes in 
Ihe class of crea urss born of eggs, 2,100,000 
times in the species of worms produced 
from sweat, 2,100,000 limes from embryonic 
birth and a similar numlur of times in the 
vegetable kingdom. 

Those who lack virtue but commit no -liiis 
are born in the divine order of a low 
grade such as the servants of Ruber, the 



attendants of the god Sliiva, Gandharvas, 
Vaitals, liralimaraksliasas, Kuslimunds 

and otlier demigods. \'irtuous women are 
born as goddesses or ileils or as apsuras or 
celestial songstresses. Those wlio have per- 
formed only a few acts of rigliUousness 
enter the ranks of Jakhanis, Kinnaris, 
Mfitrikiis, and the maid servants ol' the 
goddess Durga.-* 

The .souls of the righteous are carried by 
Yamadutas or Uie messengers of the god of 
death tlirough five cities, by a route passing 
through beautiful gardens; while those of 
the sinful are led barefooted over brambles 
and pointed spears by roads running llirough 
dense forests hidden in piteliy darkness. 
Tlie latter liave also to cross large rivers 
and pass through streams filled witJi blood 
and puss. As they pass, eagles prey upon 
their bodies and they are bitten by venomous 
snakes.^ 

The souls of those who have in life per- 
formed good actions pass through "the sun 
and assume divine forms ; while those of 
ordinary beings pass through the moon .ind 
return to this world.'" 

A sinful soul lias to go to Yamaloka or 
hell through sixteen cities. On its way it 
has to cross the river Vaitarna, wliieli con- 
sists of blood mixed witli puss. He who 
has presented a cow to a Brahman can cross 
this river with ease. Beyond this river lies 
a larid wliich is covertd with sjiikes. Tliose 
who have given in charity a.shtiDiuih'dTjn, 
that is, sesamum seeds. Hour, gold, eotton, 
salt, clarified butter, milk and sugareandy, 
can walk over this ground withont being 
hurt. \^"]ien the soul has reached Yaina or 
the god of death, the sun and the moon, 
the ever-living witnesses of human actions. 



1 The School Mistress, Barton Female Training College, Rfijkot. 

- The School Master of Limbdi. ' The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

* ■' Like tlie green grass on the turf I have often grown and regrown. I have visited 770,000 
bodies. ' Maulana Ilaluddin Kumi. ■• The School Master of Ganod. 

5 The School Master of Vanod. <• The School blaster of Jetalpur. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



111 



testify to its virtues and sins, cand it is meted 
out a punishment appropriate to its sins.^ 

In order that the departed soul may not 
find its way difficult, his heirs make a gift 
to a Brahman of a bedstead, bedding, a lamp, 
corn, a pair of shoes and otlier articles, on 
the thirteenth day after deatli. This gift is 
called seraja.- 

One enters the liuman order after passing 
through 8,400,000 species of living beings. 
It is in the human life that one can accumu- 
late merit, and wipe out the influence of 
past sins. 

Those who meet a sudden or violent death 
e. g., by being crushed under a falling house, 
by drowning in a well, by an accidental fall. 
by a snake bite, etc. enter the order of 
bhuts^pretas^ pishdchas, etc., and are said to 
]>ave gone to durgati or to a bad path."' 

But those who die on a field of battle are 
believed to attain heaven. ^ 

According to another belief, persons dying 
a violent death have to pass tiirough the 
same fate, that is, die violently, for the next 
seven lives. ^ 

Their souls are said to be liable to enter 
the asurgati or the order of devils. They are 
emancipated from this condition by the per- 
formance hx their descendants of the cere- 
mony called Nil parnavavi or of those 
ceremonies prescribed in the POl Sltastra/' 

It is also believed that such souls after 
entering the order of ghosts oppress and 
torment their descendants and relatives.'' 

In the case of suicides, when the crime is 
proved before the god of deatli the culprit is 
hurled into a hell called Mahdraurava^ where 
he has to pass a thousand years. After the 
expiry of this period he is born again into 



this world, again commits suicide, and again 
meets the same fate after death. This is 
repeated seven times, after which he lias 
to pass through 8,400,000 species of animals 
before again obtaining the human life.s 

If the suicide be caused by poisonings 
the person, in his next life, becomes a ser- 
pent ; if by drowning or strangling, he becomes 
a ghost. '^ 

Some believe that the souls of persons 
meeting a violent death enter the order of 
such ghosts as Jinni, Mfimo, etc. For their 
emancipation sJinlddhas are performed by 
their descendants. At times these ghosts 
possess the persons of their nearest relatives 
and through this medium declare their desires. 
If they express a desire to have a palio or 
pillar erected in their name, one is erected 
on the spot where they breathed their last. 
On this pillar is engraved a figure riding a 
horse, representing the deceased, which is 
besmeared with red lead or ochre. This 
representation is worshipped as a deity with 
offerings of frankincense, cocoanuts and 
lamps fed with ghi,^" 

The palio is called surdhan^ and is wor- 
shipped, especially on the death anniversary 
of the deceased. 1^ 

In some castes the surdhans are installed 
in the house of the deceased.^* 

There are various beliefs current as to 
the way in which spirits enter and leave 
the body. 

According to one belief, when a person 
gets frightened by the apparition of a ghost, 
the ghost enters his body through one of the 
organs, and makes him senseless and 
violent. ^3 



a The School Master of Dhaak. 
* The School Master of Charadva. 
' The School Master of Kotda Sangaui. 
' The School Mistress, Barton Female Training 
College, Rajkot. 
9 The School Master of Bhayavadar. i" The SchoolMaster of Todia 

" The School Master of Songadh. 12 1 he School Master of Devalia. 

'3 The School Masterof Dhank. 



1 The D. E. Inspector, Halar. 
3 Mr. K. D. Desai. 
5 The School Master of Dhank. 
' The School Master of Kolki. 



112 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



According to another belief, a gliost, as 
stated above, takes an airy form and enters 
the body tlirough any channel through which 
air can enter the body. It leaves the body 
by the same route. ^ 

There is also a belief that evil spirits 
enter the body of a man through any part 
of the body and under their influeuce 
the person possessed, dances, jumps, foams 
or sits idle-. 

There is a further belief that a gliost 
enters the body througli the tluimb and gets 
out bj- tlie ears.^ 

-Vccording to some, a ghost makes its way 
into the body tlirough the anus and its exit 
by the same route. ^ 

Olh'ers maintain that it enters tlie body 
through the nostrils and gets out by the 
same passage.' 

Some say that it finds an entrance and 
outlet through the skull. "^ 

There are others who are of opinion that 
the immaterial form of a ghost can find 
.admission into the body by tlie right side 
and egress the same way.^ 

It is said that when the body is unclean, 
a gliost can enter it through any of the 
organs.* 

To drive away an evil spirit from the 
body of a person, a conjuror^ Vanjha, Koli 
Vfighri, Atit, Fakir or other exorcist is en- 
gaged to set a drinkl'in* and to offer a victim 
and frankincense to the evil spirit, which 
is supposed to drive the spirit out by the 
same route by which it entered the body.t^ 

-Vnother method of driving away an evil 
spirit from the body is as follows : — 



As soon as it is ascertained that a man is 
possessed by an evil spirit, somebody cat- 
ches hold of the top-knot of the man 
or ties it into a knot. Next he is lasted 
with a whip or chain until the ghost in him 
cries out " Please don't beat me. I shall 
leave the body and shall never return. " 
Then the ghost is told that it is a liar, that 
it said a thousand times that it would leave 
the body and not return, but it did not do 
it. No faith, therefore, would be put in its 
word. After a haggling dialogue of this 
kind and on the ghost's confirmation of its 
offer never to return by some satisfac- 
tory oath or assurance, the top-knot is 
unloosed and the ghost disappears. i" 

A third method is to subject the person 
possessed to the fumes of red chillies or 
of black wood, or to tie a sacred thread 
round his elbow. 

After one of these processess has been 
performed to expel the ghost, the victim 
gives a deep yawn, and it is said that the 
ghost goes out in the yawn. Next the 
relieved person is given water to drink, and 
an exorcist is engaged to take measures to 
prevent the possibility of the ghost's 
return. ^^ 

In a book entitled Brahman Xighanta 
Ratnakar is described the method of driving 
away an evil spirit from the body of a man 
by an offering of dhup or frankincense. 
The dhup to be used for this purpose must 
be made of g'lgiJ; and it must be ofl'ered 
with honey and clarified butter, repeating 
the following mantra ; — 

" Amen. Bow to the divine Lord of the 
evil spirits, the Lord whose teeth, jaws, and 



' The School Master of Ganod, 
3 Tlie D. E. Inpector, Gohilwad, 
5 The School Master of Bantva. 
" The School Master of Viila. 



2 The School Master of Piitan Vao. 

* The School Master of Luvaria. 

^ The School Master of Riijpara, 

8 Tlie School Master of Ganod. 

5 The School Master of Dhank. 

t If a lock of the hair of the person possessed by an evil spirit be knotted round and round while 
the exorcist is trying to cast the spirit, it cannot get out. — The School Master of Vanod. 

10 Mr. K. D. Desai. * See p. 3. i' The School Master of Patan Vao. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



113 



mouth are fierce, by whose three eyes the 
forehead is ablaze, whose lustre is marked 
by irresistible anger, wlio holds a crescent 
moon on the forehead and matted hair on 
the head, wliose body is besmeared with 
ashes ; whose neck is adorned by the poison 
of the fierce lord of the cobras. Oh ! may 
success attend to thee! Oh! Great one! 
The Lord of spirits! manifest thy form, 
dance, dance ; move, move ; tie with a 
chain, tie; terrify by a neigh, terrify; 
kill, kill by the adamantine wand; 
cut, cut off" by a sharp weapon; tear off", 
tear off" b}' the point of a spear ; reduce, 
reduce to atoms by the bludgeon ; remove 
remove, all the evil spirits Sw'iha"^ 

There are various superstitious beliefs 
entertained by people regarding sneezing. 

According to one belief, if a person sneezes 
face to face with another who is about to 
begin an auspicious act, such as starting on a 
journey, decking liis person witli ornaments, 
performing a marriage ceremony^ and the like, 
it portends misfortune to the latter ; but a 
sneci'.e on his right or at liis back foretells 
good. A sneeze in front of .1 person starting I 
to perform an auspicious .ict is supposed to 
mean that a blow has been struck on his fore- 
head, suggesting that the act should be stopped. 
If, in spite of this warning, the act is 
commenced, evil consequences are sure to 
follow. 

A sneeze at a man's back confirms the ^ 
unobstructed fulfilment of the act taken in 
hand, as it is believed to have patted the man j 
on his back or shoulders in token of approval. 



of this etiquette, one sneezes, he excuses himself 
by saying that he is suff"ering from cold.- 

Some people believe that a sneeze in front is 
an indication of a broil on the road, a sneeze 
on tlie left side portends loss of money, one 
from above is a harbinger of success, one from 
below foretells danger, while the sneeze of the 
man who is engaged or is starting on tlie act 
contemplated is believed to be very injurious. 
A sneeze on the right is considered neither 
good nor bad." 

A sneeze in the east causes anxiety, in the 
south-east foretells happiness, in the south 
speaks of coming loss, and in the south-west 
is an indication of good. A sneeze from the 
West or north-west is considered good, from 
the north injurious, and from the east 
auspicious.'' 

Some lines from the sayings of GorakJiraj 
run to the effect that a sneeze in the east 
causes anxiety, one in the south-east inflicts 
a sound beating, one in the soutii brings a 
visitor or guest, one in the south-west subjects 
the person concerned to a taunt, one in the west 
bestows a tiirone or crown, one in tiie north- 
west promises sweets or dainties, one in the 
north foretells good, one in tJie north-east 
brings disappointment, while one's own sneeze 
is so ominous that one should never start out 
on any business after sneezing/' 

The beliefs enumerated above relate to 
sneezes which occur on certain week days. 
The sneezes which occur on Sundays have the 
following consequences. 

A sneeze from the east is good, one from the 



Sneezes on either side, right or left, portend j south-east points to delay in the fulfilment of 
neither good nor evil. ! one's intended object, one from the south 

As a rule, sneezes are believed to forebode bring" i" \^''°^^' ""^ f"""'" ^^'^ south-west 



evil, and it is considered liiglilv unmannerly to 



results in death, one from the west in happiness, 



sneeze while one is about to begin an auspicious one from the north-west throws one into the 
act or start with a good purpose. If, in spite i society of good men, one from the north is 

' n he School Master of Bhayavadar. 2 The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

3 The School Master of Sfrnka. « The School Master of Kolki. 

5 The Scliool Master of Chharadva. 



114 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



productive of pecuniary gain, and oiit- from 
tJif nortli-east of general welibeing.i 

It is a (.iHiunon belief that if wliile one is 
about to conimenec some act, somebotly sneezes 
once, the act is doomed to fail, and to avoid 
failure it n)ust be jjostponid. Hut if the 
sneeze IS repeated, no h.irm ensues.^ 

A sneeze by an ailing person is believed to 
be a sign of his recovery, and more sneezes by 
tlie same person are supposed to indicate his 
complete recovery, even though tlie symptoms 
be not favour.ible. 

A sneeze by a cow at I lie commencement of 
an auspicious act is supposed to be the worst 
possible omen, and a sneeze by a eat is prover- 
bially a portent of failure in any act taken 
in liand at the time.- 

A yawn is generally believed to be harmless, 
as it does not foretell eitiier good or evil. 
Still as sometimes it results in accidental 
instantaneous dealli, the elders of a person 
when he yawns, exclaim, " Be long-lived ! 
Patience! Live long!", and the spiritually 
disposed repeat the name of the god of their 
devotion.-' 

Lest spirits may make their way into tlie body 
of a person through his mouth when he is 
yawning, or lest his soul may pass out of it, 
some people pinch him to stop the yawn while 
others utter the words " Riim " " Ram " to 
divert his attention.^ 

In mythological times, Brahma, one of the 
gods of the Hindu Trinity, once left his body 
for a time. Some people began to molest the 
body, wilt 11 lie cried out, "Rflkhol R(ihho\" 
that is " Keep aloof! Keel) aloof ! " '*'' " ^Vait! 
Wait !"■ Tliese people came to be called Rdkho* 
w ich in course of time corrupted into 
Rilkshasa. The beings who hold sway over 



n'llcshasas are called Malidrdkshasas. In the 
Ramdyan and other pindns^ idh.shasas are 
represented as feeding on human flesh.'' 

A rdkshasa is supposed to be sixteen miles 
in height and to roam about for his prey 
within a i irele with a radius of sixteen miles." 

The Mahdrdksliasas are supposed to have 
their abode in the seas. It is said tiiat tliey 
burn or swallow sliips sailing thereon.^ 

The rdkshasas are supposed to number 
60,000,000 and the mahdrdkshasas 20,000 
Kubera, a mahunikshasa is tile lord of the 
rdkshasaii.'^ 

It is said that the rdkshasas^ mahdrdkshasas 
wizards and witclies were visible to the liuman 
eye during the ireidyuga. With the commence- 
ment of the present or kaliyuga they Jiave 
become invisible. It is stated in the Piirdns 
that during the recitation of tiie Surya kavach^ 
Saptsasani or the Ndrdyaii kavach if the 
rdkshasas or mahdrdkshasas fall into or 
approaeii the limits eireuiuseribed for them, 
the recitation jjroves ineffective." 

It is a common belief that there is bitter 
enmity between the gods and rdkshasas. The 
former follow tlie path of virtue while the 
latter lead immoral lives devouring Brahmans 
and cows, feeding on flesh, and indulging in 
intoxicating drinks. The habitat of the 
rdkshasas is the pdtdl or nether world, Hawan 
being their king.^" 

Tile exploits oi" some of the rdkshasas are 
described in the Mahdhhdrat, Bhdgvat .and the 
Rdmdyan. For instance, tlie misdeeds of 
Jarasandii, Gliatolkaeha .md Medamba are 
described in the Mahdhhdrat ; those of Kansa 
Banasur, Pralambasur, Adhjisur, Dhenukasur, 
Kalanemi, Shankasur .uid \'ritrasiir in the 



' The School Master of Limbdi. 2 The School Master of Jhinjhuwada. 

3 The School Master of Vanod. 4 The School Master of Dhank. 

* This derivation of the word ra/.-.s7insis 13 obviously fanciful. Rdkshasa is a Sanskrit word and has 

no connection with the Giijaruti word rdkho which itself is derived from the Sanskrit root raksha to 
protect. 

' The School Mastr of Dhank. « The School Master of Bflntva, 

7 The School Master of Moti Parabdi. s Ti,e School Master of Rajpara. 

^ The School Master of Charadva, >" The School .Master of Kotda Sangani. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



115 



Bhagvat ; and those of Ravan, Kiimbliakarna 
and Indrajit in the Kfimdytin.^ 

A rdkshasa named Tripurasur conquered the 
heavens, the earth and the nether regions, and 
began to annoy the gods. Tlie god Sliiva 
burnt the ralcshasa to ashes. - 

The two rdlcsJiasas Hiranyaksha and Hiran- 
yakashyapii were originally the gate-keepers 
of Vishnu, one of the gods of the Hindu trinity. 
Once they affronted Sanatkuniar, the son of 
Brahma, when they were cursed by Vishnu who 
■decreed that they would be born rdkshasas in 
three successive lives. In these lives they had 
to play the jjart of the enemies of gods and 
men, and were destroyed by ^'islinu as such ^ 

A rdkshasa named Jal.mdhar is stated to liave 
met his death when tiie chastity oi liis wife 
was violated by the god Vishnu in the disguise 
of her husband." 

Mahdrdkshasas are also known by tlie name 
of Brahma rdkshasas. A Bralnuan dying 
without imparting all his learning to his disci- 
ples or with the guilt of tlie murder of a 
Brahman or a cow on Iiim is believed to enter 
the order of Brahma rdkshasas after his death. 
In this state he possesses a body without a head. 
A Brahma rdkshasa is also called Khavis,* * 

In addition to the wizards and witches 
mentioned above, there are others the names 
of which are as follows : — 

( 1 ) Dakini, ( 2 ) Sakini, ( 3 ) Kushmand 
(4) Zod, (5) Dholio, (6) Pale Marad, (7) 
Bhuehar, (8) Khechar, (9) Jalaj, (10) Jakharo, 
(11) j^hikotrum, (12) Ashtabharo, (13) Chand 
Chani, (14) Chorosi Kantiui, (15) Jogani, (]6) 
Hathadi, (17) Miyali, (18) Gjiiuuhini, (19) 
Mochini, (20) Baladi, (21) Molani, (22) 
Khuntini, (23) Suti, (24) Gavati, (25) Belhi, 



(26)Ubhi, (27) Avi, (28) Chaurar, (29) Madku 
Pavanti, (30) Mansa Kliavanti, (31) Bh;"isika, 
(32) Pratfih, (33) Vira, (34) Vavanchara, 
(35) Chorasi Viru, (36) Nao Narasing, (37) 
Jaikha, (38) Jutaka, (39) Masida, (40) 
Gandharavi, (41) Jami, (42) Asmani, (43) 
Mamikula,5 (44) Zampadi, (45) Meladi 
(46) Balla.6 

Of the above, the first forty-three together 
with Chudela or Vantri and Preta are believed 
by some to be the names of so manj? Joganis or 
female evil spirits or witches. The remaining 
areliving Ddkans or witches who are believed 
to cause illness or even death by their evil eye 
to those on whom they throw a glance. ^ 

Wizards live upon ordinary food, witches on 
air, while prctas require nothing to eat for 
their maintenance. It is said that their backs 
and shoulders are covered with filth and emit) 
an offensive odour. ^ 

It is generally believed that the spirits of 
such male members of low unclean castes as 
die a violent death' become Khavis.^ Some 
believe that Khavis or Khahith is a Musalman 
ghost. 1'' Others hold that he is the lord of 
all ghosts. ■'■'^ 

Khavis has no head His eyes are located 
in the chest. He is as tall as a cocoa-palm or 
bamboo. He roams about holding in one hand 
a weapon and in the other a lump of flesh. 
Those over whom his shadow falls are said to 
fall ill.i- His appearance is so terrible that a 
person v,ho sees him for the first time is 
frightened to death. ^^ It is stated that he 
starts on his excursions after sun-set.^'' 

The attendants of the god SJiiva known as 
Vaifdlikas are said to have no heads. ^■' They 
live in cremation grounds, as they have a 



1 The School Master of Ganod. - The School Master of Lewaria. 

3 The School Master of Upleta. ^ The School Master of Venod. 

* The word Khavis comes from the Arabic Khabith fro.ii the root verb Khabotha and means one 



who has become impure or unholy. 

6 The School Masters of Khirasara and 
8 The School Master of Anandpur. 
10 The School Master of Khirasara. 
^2 The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
14 The School Master of Khirasara. 



The School Master of Sultanpur. 
Pipalana. " Mr. K. D. Desai. 

8 The School Master of Lilapur. 
" The School Master of Vasavad. 
13 The School Master of Chhatrasa. 
'5 The School Master of Ganod. 



116 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



burning desire to possess tJie bodies of 
deceased persons. ^ 

A belief runs tliat tlie trunk of the evil 
sjiirit called Siiropiiro^ ih-it is the spirit 
of one who meets a heroic death, moves about 
like a Khavis.- 

It is a common hclicr thai evil spirits haunt 
trees, groves, deserted tanks and woods. ■• 

Fetal roams over burial and cremation 
grounds, as also Bhuchnr, Khechar, Kdl 
Bhairav and a number of other ghosts. ■• 

The Jivip^ Babaro and some other ghosts 
reside in fortresses and unoccupied houses and 
roam about in tlie burning- grounds. Cliudela^ 
Kolda and Brnhma Rdkshasa make their 
abodes on the tamarind, ^ham'i (Prosopis 
spicigera), Babul and Kerado trees and in 
deep tanks and wells in deserted places. 
Their favourite haunts are river banks.-' 

It is stated by some people that the Chtidel^ 
Vantrl, Dakan, Jimp, Khavis and other 
ghosts generality haunt cremation grounds, 
fields where battles have been fought, thres- 
holds of houses and latrines and cross 
roads." 

Some declare that ghosts are also to be 
found in temples in which tiiere are no images 
and in dry wells.' 

The ghost preta is said to be as tall as a 
camel, the passage of its throat being as small 
as the bore of a needle. It is therefore 
believed to be always wandering about in 
quest of water.5 

The evil spirit Jtin haunts mountains and 
forests and Muino the centres of filth, while 
Vetiil is found in cremation grounds.^ 

Jdn^ Brahma Riikshasa and Khavis reside 
in woods, trees, or on mountains, Khijadio 
Moino lives in the Khijada or Shami tree and 
Amalho Mdmo in a grove of trees. Spirits 



of high caste people not emancipated from 
the trammels of birth and rebirth have their 
abode in the Pipal tree.^'^ 

It is related th;it once .-i numi>er of hoys, on 
their return from a tank to wliich they had 
gone on a swimming excursion, passed by a 
Khijada tree, when one of them suggested to- 
the others to throw stones at the tree, saying 
that any one not doing so would fall under 
the displeasure of God. One of the boys 
threw a stone at a neighbouring Babul tree 
with the result tiiat on reaching home he fell 
ill in a fit of terror. He began to shake and 
said " Why did you strike me with a stone ? I 
liad resorttd to tie Babul tree from the 
Khijado and you struck me there. I shall not 
depart until I take your life." Evidentlj' it 
was the Khijadio Muino who had possessed 
the boy who spoke the above words ; and an 
exorcist was called who drove him out by the 
incantation of mantras ; after which the boy 
recovered. ^^ 

It is believid that a wouian who dies an 
unnatural death becomes a Chudel and 
troubles her husband, litr successor or co-wife, 
or her children. i" 

There are three classes of Chudels^ 
(1) Pas'/i;', (2) >Soshiand(3) Toshi. Ttose 
women that have not enjoyed before death 
the pleasures of this world to their satis- 
faction enter the order of Poshi Chudels. 
They fondle children and render good service 
to their widower husbands. 

Those women that are persecuted beyond 
endurance by the members of ti.eir families 
become Soshi Chudels after death. They 
dry up the blood of men and prove very 
troublesome to the members of the family. 

Those women who bear a strong attach- 
ment to their husbands enter the order of 



' The School Master of Gcmdal. 
3 The School Master of Dhank. 
^ The School Master of \'.inocl. 
7 The School Master of Kolki. 
9 The School Master of Dlank. 
" The D. E. Inspector, Gohilwad. 



- The School Master of Bfintva. 

1 The School Master of Talpur and Luvaria. 

6 The School Master of Dadvi. 

8 The School Master of Chhatrasa 
1° The School Master of Kolki. 
1- The School M.isttr of Dhank. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



117 



Toshi Chudels and bring great pleasure and 
ha})piness to their husbands in this life.^ 

-Most high caste people, on the death of 
their first wives, take an impression of their 
feet on gold leaves or leaf-like tablets of gold 
and cause their second wives to wear them 
round their necks. 2 These impresses of feet 
are called shok-pagalans or mourning foot- 
prints. Among the lower castes, the hands 
or the feet of the second wives are tattooed 
in the belief that this prevents the deceased 
wife from causing injury to the second wife."' 
All female spirits called Pishdchas or 
Dakans and male spirits called f^irs or Bhuts 
oppress their descendants.' 

It is also believed that any male member of 
A family dying with certain of his desires 
unfulfilled becomes a Surdhan and oppresses 
the surviving relatives, wliile a female member 
troubles others as Sikotiini or Mai'adi.^ 

The spirits of men that fall victims to 
tigers or other wild animals are believed to 
enter tlie gliostly order and wander about 
until they are relieved from this state by the 
performance of the prescribed shraddha by 
some pious surviving relative.'' These evil 
spirits live in forests and eat notliing but 
flesh.^ If they do not get flesh to eat they 
eat the flesh of their own bodies.® At times 
they put their relatives to great annoyance 
by entering their persons. To pacify them, 
polios are erected in their name, and their 
images are set up in the square cavities of 
walls. These images are besmeared with red 
lead and oil by tlieir descendants on the four- 
teenth day of the dark half of Ashvin. The 
relief of such spirits is sought by the jjerfor- 
mance of a shraddha either at Siddhapur or 
.at Giya " 



' The School Master of Vanod. 
3 The School Master of Songadh. 
5 The School Master of Jhinjhuwada. 
'• The School Master of Kotda Saagani, 
3 The School Master of Vanod. 
11 Mr. K. D. Desai, 
13 Mr. K. D. Desai. 



It is believed that a woman dying in cliild- 
bed or menses enters the order of ghosts 
variously known as Chudels^ Vantiis or 
Taxamis. In order tliat she may not return 
from tlie cremation ground, mustard seeds are 
strewn along the road beliind her bier, for a 
belief prevails that she can only succeed 
in returning if she can collect all the mustard 
seeds thus strewn on the wav.^" 

In some places, loose cotton wool is thrown 
over the bier so as to be scattered all along 
tlie road to the cemetery. It is believed that 
the Chiidel can only return to the house if she 
can collect all the cotton scattered behind her 
in one night. Tliis is considered an impossible 
task, and no fear is therefore entertained of 
her return after the cotton lias been scattered.' 1 
To prevent the return of the Chudel, some 
people pass underneath the bier the legs of 
the cot on which the woman lay in her confinj- 
ment, while others drive in an iron nail at 
the end of the street immediately after the 
corpse has been carried beyond the village 
boundary. 1- 

In some places, the nail is driven into the 
threshold of the house. ^" 

Even after the precautions mentioned above 
have been taken, to prevent the return of a 
Chudel or Vantri^Shrdddhas are performed 
and a number of Braliman women feasted ou 
the twelfth and thirteenth day after death to 
propitiate her as the fear of the miscliief 
done by her is very sirong.^^ 

A Chudel has no shoulders. i^ Any passer by 
coming across her is asked by her to take her 
to his home, and if he agrees, she accompanies 
him, passes the night in his company, and 
brings Iiis life to a speedy end. In the village 
of Charadi under the jurisdiction of Dhranga- 

' The School Master of Jetpur. 
* The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
6 The School Master of Dhank. 
8 The School Master of Rajpara. 
«> The School Master of Dhank. 
1- The School Master of Vanod. 
1* The School Master of Lioibdi. 



118 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



dhra, a Girasia named Halfiji fell into the If the birth time of a child happens to fall 

clutches of a Chudcl wlio was driven from witliin the ecliptic period, that is the period 

his person by the enchantment of a Jali on i of nine hours before an eclipse takes place, as 

condition that he should not go into the eastern well as in tlie duration of the eclipse, the father 



part of the village.^ 

It is believed that a woman can be relieved 
from the ghostly order of a Chudel bj' the 
performance of a shrdddha at Siddhapur." 

There is no belief that the father has to 
take special precautions at tlie birth of his 
cliild except that care is taken to note the 
exact time of the child's birth for the purpose 
of casting its horoscope correctly. An inkstand 
and pen are also placed in tlie lying-in-room, 
as it is believed that the creator writes the 
destiny of a child as soon as it makes its 
apj)earance into tlie world." 

All children born in Jyeslita Nahshatra. 
Mula-nahshatra^ or Yamagkunia are said to 
cause the death of their male parent. Such 
children were left to starve uncared for in 
forests in olden times ; but now-a-days they 
are kept alive, as certain performances are 
believed to avert the evil. One sucii perfor- 
mance is only to see the child after clarified 
butter has been given in donation. Another 
is to see its face after it has been bathed with 
the water collected from eigliteen wells in a 
pot with a thousand holes. ■• In a third, the 
parents of the child liold in their hands 
goblets filled with clarified butter, and see 
their faces reflected in them before the child 
is presented to the sight of the father. 

Such children are named Mulubhai, Mul- 
chand, IMuli or Mulo. 

A child born in the month of Jyestlia 
prognosticates poverty.'' 



does not see the ciiild before performing cer- 
tain rites, as to do so is supposed to bring 
misfortune.'' 

If a man lias a child in his twentieth year 
he does not see the child before he comjiletcs 
it.'f 

If a child is born at a wrong juncture or 
conjunction of the stars, the father does not 
see it for twenty-seven days.** 

A eliild born on the fourtli, fourteeiitli or 
fifteenth day of a month is supposed to become 
a burden to its father.'-' 

It is a common belief that a woman in child 
bed should not see the face of her husband 
nor lie of her.^'* 

^Vomen who do not obey the commands of 
tlieir husbands, who partake of their meals 
secretly before their husbands,* or violate any 
of their duties towards their husbands, are 
believed to enter the order of bats or owls 
after their death. i'^ 

According to another belief, men who liave 
been incontinent become owls after death, 
while such women become bats.^- 

The owls and bats are blind during the day,, 
but they can see corpses and the spirits of the 
deceased and converse with them in their own 
tongue. ^^ 

The spirits of the deceased are supposed to 
remain in their worldly tenement for twelve 
days, and owls and bats are supposed to be 
able to see them at night and talk to them.i* 



1 The School Masur of Lilfipur. ' The School Masters of Dhank and Vanod. 

3 Mr. K. D. Desai. l The School Master of Vanod. 

5 The School Mistress, Female Training College, Rajkot. 

6 The School Master of Todia, " The School Master of Lil.ipur. 
8 The School Master of Gondal. 9 The School Master of Kolki. 
lO The School Master of Devalia. 

* This is a point of conjugal etiquette in India^ Hindu, and in Gujarat and the Deccan, Musalman 
women, would much rather starve than dine before their husbands. 

1' The School Master of Dhank. -- The School Master of Vanod. 

13 Tlie School Master of Kotda Sangani. " The School Master of Chhatrasa. 



I 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



119 



One of tlie beliefs entertained by Hindus 
about tlie owl is that none should throw a 
lump of earth at it, as the owl is believed to 
pick up the missile and throw it into a well or 
tank or an}' sheet of water, with the result that 
it gradually dissolves and disappears, and 
simultaneously the body of the person is said 
to be consumed.^ 

If perchance an owl utters some note per- 
ching on the top cross beam of a house on a 
Sunday or Tuesday night, the owner of the 
house should pass a dark woollen thread below 
the cross beam, to wliich a nude person should 
give a knot at every screech of the owl. If 
such a ttread be kept in one's anklet, one need 
have no fear of ghosts nor can he be seen by 
a diikan or witch. 

If a person in sleep responds to the call of 
an owl, he is believed to expire within six 
months from that date.- 

If an owl screeches every night for six 
months on one's house or an adjacent tree, a 
terror seizes the members of the house that 
some sure and certain calamity not short of 
-death is imminent.'^ 

An owl sitting on the house of a person and 
screeching is said to be uttering threats or 
forebodings of calamities and misfortunes, and 
is believed to foretell the death of some near 



1 Mr. K. D. Desai. 
s The School Master of Zinzuvada. 
5 The School Master of Dhank. 
" The School Master of Dhank. 

■5 The School Master of Sayala. 

" Tae School Master of Kotda Sangani. 



relative or of a member of the household.* 

If a miser dies after accumulating vast 
treasures, liis spirit becomes a ghost or a snake 
and guards his wealth. ^ 

According to another belief, a miser dying 
without an heir becomes a snake to guard his 
treasure.'' 

It is believed that such treasures are 
accessible to batrisas'' (those possessed of 
thirty two accomplishments). 

Those persons that die while ousted from 
the houses built by them become ghosts, and 
residing in the houses, do not allow any body 
to live therein, and leave them only when they 
are demolished.'* 

Some evil spirits guard treasures in the 
form of drones." 

It is related that there is a pond called 
Lakhota near Jamvadi in Gondal. It contains 
a treasure guarded by a cobra which tries to 
bite whosoever attempts to remove it.^" 

The Janchar, Bhuchar^ Jin and some other 
spirits are believed to haunt valleys. ^^ 

Some believe that those persons that meet 
their death in valleys become evil spirits and 
haunt the valleys. ■'- 

Rakhevdlio^ Andkario, Heualio, Sidio and 
Ragatio are evil spirits that liamit the ruins 
of magnificent buildings and also valleys. ^'^ 



- The School Master of Kolki. 

4 Mr. K. D. Desai. 

« The School Master of Mavaiya. 

8 The School Master of Vanod. 
*) The School Master of Gondal. 
« The School Master of Vanod. 



'3 The School Master of Rajpara. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE EVIL EYE AXD THE SCARING OF GHOSTS 



Till superstitious dread of an evil eye is to 
be seen mostly among ignorant people, espe- 
cially among women. If a bo_v were to fall 
ill, they say, " Clihotio (the name of the boy) 
was playing in the house wearing a fine dress 
and was prattling sweetly, when that wretch 
came to the house and her evil eye fell on him" * 
or Tlie boy was eating a daintj- dish when 
that devilish woman came up and her evil eye 
influenced the boy."- 

Persons born on a Sunday or Tuesday are 
generally believed to have an evil eye." 

The evil eye causes its victim to vomit wjiat 
he has eaten in its presence.'' 

If a child weeps all day long, or a person 
finds his apjjetite very weak, the evil is attri- 
buted to an evil eye.^ 

If milch cattle do not give milk, or if seva 
(vermicelli) pdpad (wafer biscuits)' pickles, 
tJuclhpdk (rice cooked in milk and sweetened 
with sugar) or such other eatables are spoilt, 
it is b elievcd that the evil eye is at the root 
of tlie trouble." 

It is believed that the following objects are 
liable to be influenced by an evil eye : — 

(l) Persons having fine glossy hair, fiery 
eyes, esquisite form, refined gait, fine speech 
or good handwriting, (2) good sportsmen, (3), 
pickles. (4) pdpad (wafer biscuits), (5) Seva 
(vermicelli ), (6) all attractive objects 

If a person falls ill after he is praised, he 
is said to have been a victim of an evil eyc.^ 

The precautions taken to evade the influence 
of tlie evil eye are as follows: — 

( 1 ) When children are dressed and decked 
with ornaments, a spot is made on their cheeks 



j or near tlieir necks with a black pigment or 
collyrium, as it is believed that the dark colour 

i is an antidote against the influence of the 
evil eye. 

(2) Some eflieacious inscription is engraved 
on a copper plate, wjiich is suspended round 
the child's neck. 

(3) A bead of A-«c/irti-af/n is also worn round 
the neck. 

( 4 ) A tiger's nail or tooth is worn round 
the neck. 

( 5 ) An iron ring is worn on tht finger. 

( 6 ) A lime is worn in the turban or 
headdress. 

(7) An incantation in the praise of Hanu- 
nian is written on a piece of paper and put in 
an anklet which is worn. 

(S) A piece of thread of five kinds of silk 
or cotton spun by a virgin is given seven knots 
on the fourteenth day of the dark half of 
Ashvin and worn on the person. 

(9) In order that sweet meats and other 
eatables such as pdpad (wafer biscuits), 
pickles, etc., may not be spoilt by an evil eye, a 
lime, an iron nail or a knife is put into them. 

(10) In order that a cot or cradle may not 
be broken by the influence of an evil eye, a 
black woollen thread is tied round it. 

(11) To Y>re\ent dtidhhdk (rice cooked in 
milk and sweetened with sugar) from being- 
spoilt, a piece of charcoal is put into the pot 
in which it is prepared.* 

While taking one's meal one should avoid 
the company of an evil-eyed person, but if 
perchance one happen to be present, a morsel 
of the food should be thrown behind him or 



' The School Master of Dhank. 
■' The Scliool Master of Koiki 
' The School Master of Jetpur. 
' The School Master of Sayala. 



» Mr. K. D. Dasai. 
* The School Master of Chhatrfisa. 
6 The School Master of Devalia. 
5 The School Master of Ganod. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



121 



set aside on the ground as an ofl'ering to tliL- 
evil eye.^ 

If, in spite of tlie precautions mentioned 
above, the influence of the evil eye prevails, 
the following remedies are adopted to remove 
its effects: — 

(1) The evil eye is fastened or curbed, as 
they say, by one of tlie processes described 
in Chapter III above. 

(2) A red-hot charcoal is placed on a dinner 
plate and covered with an earthen jar. A 
bowl filled with water is then passed round the 
head of the patient, emptied over the jar and 
placed on it with its mouth touching the jar. 
Next, a scj-thc is placed over the bowl. The 
jar, which is heated with the heat of the burning 
charcoal placed under it produces a hissing 
sound as soon as it is touched by the water 
in the bowl, and is said to speak. This 
process is called Ghadulo and is jjcrformed 
after sunset.^ 

In some places, it is a belief that the plate 
to be used in this process must be of bell- 
metal, and that over the fire placed in it 
mustard seeds, chillies and salt must be thrown 
before it is covered with the earthen jar-^ 

(3) An utcir' or sacrificial offering is taken 
to the village gate on a Sundaj' or Tuesday. 

(4) Milk is passed three or seven times 
round the head of the ailing child, poured into 
a black earthen pot, and offered to a black 
bitch on a Sunday or Tuesday.* 

(5) The mother or some other near relative 
of the child suffering from tlie effects of the 
evil eye, puts in a beU-metal cup mustard seed, 
salt, chillies and seven stones from the village 
gate, passes the cup thrice round the child's 
head, puts burning charcoal in the cup, and 



after it is lieated, places it overturned in a 
bell-metal pot and pours over it water mixed 
with cowdung, so that the cup adheres to the 
pot. This sticking of the cup is called najar 
chonti gai (the evil eye has stuck fast) and is 
believed to cure tlie child. ^ 

(6) An exorcist is engaged to wave a bowl 
filled with water round the head of the patient. 
He then drinks off the water, and the patient 
believes that the disease has been drunk 
with it.« 

(7) A handful of salt and chillies is 
passed thrice round the head of the patient 
and thrown into the fire. If the chillies burn 
without giving out fumes of an unpleasant 
odour, the evil eye is believed to be at the root 
of the illness. t^ 

(8) A little dust collected from a spot 
where two roads cross one another, or red 
lead and oil offered to Hanuman, a red 
chilly, an iron nail and grains of adad (Phase- 
olus mungo) are packed into a piece of white 
cotton cloth with a black woollen thread, and 
tied to the cradle of the suffering child. s 

(9) A side of a loaf of miUet flour is baked 
by being exposed to fire, clarified butter is 
applied to this side, and a fine cotton thread 
is passed round the loaf. Next, the loaf is 
waved round the head of the ailing child and 
thrown into fire. If the cotton thread is not 
burnt by the fire, an evil eye is believed to be 
the cause of the illness.'* 

Sometimes the loaf is offered to a black dog 
after it has been waved round the child's 
head.^ 

(10) If the illness be due to the influence 
of the evil eye of a woman, she is called in 
and asked to pass her hand over the child's 
head.9 



' Mr. K. D. Desai 

3 The School Master of Dhank. 
^ The School Master of Ganod. 
^ The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 



= The School Master of Ganod. 
* See page 3. 

5 The School Master of Vanod, 
7 Mr. K. D. Desai. 



t This process is gecerally adopted in cases of milch cattle not giving milli and all other ailments 
to ascertain the influence of the evil eye. 

8 The School Master of Dadvi. » Mr. K. D. Desai. 



122 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



(11) In order to avoid the effects of the 
evil eye, when a child returns home from an 
outside visit, a bowl filled with water is passed 
thrice round its head and emptied outside the 
house before it cros-ics the threshold of the 
house. ^ 

(12) The grains of Adad^ twigs of the 
r/jo;- (Eupiioria uerifolia), salt and dust are 
passed seven times round the head of a person 
suffering from the effects of an evil eye, on 
the threshold of the house, and thrown away.^ 

(13) Grains of Adad, twigs of the Tlior^ 
salt, an iron nail and cliarcoal are put into an 
unused earthen pot and taken to the village 
boundary with a howl filled with water. The 
person carrying the pot and bo»vl should not 
look' behind either on his way to, or on his 
return from, the village boundir}^. The ))ot 
is pliced on the village boundary, and water 
is poured over it seven times from the bowl.^ 

(14) A loaf baked on one side, with seven 
grains of Adad^ ssven grains of salt and seven 
cotton seeds placed over it, is passed seven 
tinr.-s round the patient's head and placed on 
a spot where two roads cross one another. The 
person carrying the bread sliould not look 
behind while carrying it.* 

Those whose children do not live, or die in 
infancy, or who get children with difficulty, 
give them opprobrious names, as it is believed 
that objects so named, being considered of no 
value, are left unharmed both by men and by 
gods.'' 

Some peo])le believe tliat children so named 
are considered impure by Fate or Destiny, and 
consequently not molested by her." 

It is believed by some that, as good names 
attract attention, giving opprobrious names 
averts the danger of the evil eye.^ 



Some people throw a newly-born child on a 
dung-hill and take it baek^ saying that they 
found it on the dung-hill, with the belief that 
a child of such low origin c.muot be snatched 
away from them by Fate. Such cliildren are 
named Punjio, Uukardo or Kucharo meaning 
' dung-hiil. ' 

Some children are named Khoto, Amatho or 
Jutho, all meaning ' false' , with the belief th;it 
children so named are considered to belong to 
gods or Fate, and hence cannot be taken away 
from their ))arents by the god of death. 

Some people exchange their children for 
sweets, or offer them to others and purchase 
them back at a nominal price. Others roll 
them in the dust and name them Dhulio or 
dust. This is believed to ensure a long life 
to the children.* 

In some places, a relative of the child's on 
the mother's side presents it with a necklace 
of gold beads shaped like large black ants. 
When the child attains the age of eight or ten 
years this necklace is offered to some god or 
goddess. The child is named Sankalio as it 
wears round its neck this sankal or chain, that 
is, necklace.'-* 

It is held by some that children bearing 
contemptuous names are not affected by 
magic. ^'* 

Some Weigh the child against corn and give 
the name of that corn to the child, e. g., 
' Kodario ' . ' Juviirio '. TKs corn is tlieu 
distributed among beggars, which is sujjposed 
to ensure a long life to the child. i' 

Some make earthen figures of children, call 
them Ila Hi or Pithad, and carry them through 
the village on the Holiday (the f idl-moon day 
of Fdlgun), with the belief that by 9o doing 
they ensure a long life to the children. 



I 



- The School Master of Bfmtva. 
* The School Master of Sfiyala. 
'^ The School Master of Devalia. 



" Mr. K. D. Desai. 
^ The School Master of Araan. 
5 The School Master of Dliank. 
^ The School Master of Vanod. 

' Mr. M. M. Rana, Barton Female Training College, Rfijkot. 

9 The School Master of Sultanpur. " The School Master of Moti Khilori. 

*' The School Master of Khirasara. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



123 



It is related that a carpenter's cliildren used 
to die in infancy, so he named one of his 



whose children do not live name them ' Pithad. 
Some name their children ' Jivo ' that is ' Live * 



sons ' Pithad 'and he lived. Siace tiien, parents j with the hope that they may live long.^ 

Tlie opprobrious and oilier special spirit-scaring names generally gi\ en to bovs are as 



follows : — 



NAME. 



MEANING. 



NAME. 



MEANING, 



Amatho 


Useless 


Gobaro-' 


: 


Jutho 


False 


Fakiro 


J Beggar 


Kacharo 


Refuse 


Mafatio 


Worthless 


Nathu 


Tied 


Nago 


J Shameless 


Punjo 


Refuse 


Bocho 


Coward 


Jivo 


Live 


Bakor 


' Noise 


Kalo 


Black 


Bow 


Name of a demoa 


Ghelo ... 

Gafal 

Valii or Vayali 
Sawo or Siwo 

Dungar 

Ado 

Bhabho 


Mad 

Stupid 

Eccentric 

Sewed 

Hill 

Useless 

Worthless 


How 

Limbo 

Ganglo 

Bhikhari or Bhikho 

Vaigrjii 

Amar 

Sidio 

Vasto' 


1 Ditto. 
Poisonous 

' Stony* 
Beggar 
Recluse 
Immortal 
Negro-like 


Malo 


Bower 


Polio or Polo 


Hollow 


Velo 


Creeper 


Kad.ivo .,, 


Bitter 


Nano 


Small 


Bcro 


Deaf 


Klunlo 


Lame 


Dipo 


Panther 


Oghad 


Fool 


Vagh 


Tiger 


Hakalo 




Cohampalo ... 


Meddlesome 


Bhukhan 








Uko 


Dung-hill 


Chindharo ... 


Ragged 


Lavo 


Parasite 


Chiko 




Jino 


Small 


Chuntho 


Ragged 


Doso 


Old 


Jintliro 


Bagged 


Eano 


Lord (ironical) 


Jalo ... 




Bavo 


Recluse 


Davalo 


Not loved 


Rupo 


Handsome 


Dendo 


The croaking 




(ironical) 




of a frog. 


Mor 


Peacock 


Dhingo 


Fat 


Popat 


Parrot 


Bodo 


Bald-headed 


Jado 


Fastened^ 


Rotal 


Womanish 


Bodho 




Radio 


Crying'' 



1 The School Master of Todia. 
3 The School Master of Ganod. 
5 The School Master of Dadvi 



2 The School Master of Dhank. 
1 The School Master of Vanod. 
5 The School Master of Kolki. 



124 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



The contemptuous names 


g" 


'en to girls are: — 


NAME. 


MEANING. 


Liri 








Dliofi 


... ... 




White 


Ziiu ... 







Small 


Pimji 







Refuse 


Kali... 







Black 


Ful ... 







Light as a 
flower^ 


Nathi 









Juthi 







False 


Jadi 






Fat 


Monghi 








Jaba2 









Kadvi 


* • • ■ •• 




Bitter 


Jivi ... 


... . • • 




Live- 


DiviS 









Vejo, Bhilak, Chichi, LaghuS Mafat 
useless), Gheli (mad), Panchi •'', Dedki, Kukadi 
and Zabu.*^ 

It is said that in ancient times change of sex 
could be effected. 

Tradition relates that all the children of a 
certain Soianki king died in infancy, except 
the last child, a girl. She was dressed in 
male attire and passed for a boy. WJien the 
pretended boy attained marriageable age, he 
was betrothed to a princess. When the day 
fixed for the marriage drew near, the king 
became anxious and went on an hunting expe- 
dition to pass the time. On his way back 
from the hunt he became very thirsty, and 
quenched his thirst with the water of a pond 
near which a temple of Bahucharaji stands to 
this day. His bitch, which was with him, 
leapt into the pond, and on coming out of the 
water was found to be transformed into a dog. 
On seeing this the king brought his daughter 



» The School Master of Dhank. 
3 The School Master of Kolki. 
■■ The School Master of Khirasara. 
' The School Master of Zinzuvada. 
9 The School Master of Uptela. 
" The School Master of Vanod. 

'3 The School Master 



and bathed her into the pond with the result 
tliat she was transformed into a boy. The 
king then built a big tank on the spot, which 
is known by the name of M(in.'' 

In a chapter called Brahmottar Khand of 
the Padma Puran^ which describes the glory 
of a vow called Uma Malie.ih,ihe greatness of 
observing fasts on Mondays is described at 
length. Two Brahman brothers, one dressed 
as a man and the other as a woman, set out on 
a journey. Once they halted in a temple of 
the god Shiva, where lived a woman who had 
observed the fasts on Mondays. She invited 
them to dinner, taking them, as they appeared 
to be, for a man and a woman. The devotion 
of the hostess was so great that the brother 
dressed as a woman was actually transformed 
into a woman while partaking' of the meal 
served to him.-' 

It is related that in ancient times the son 
of a certain sage once disguised himself as a 
girl with the result that he was actuallj- chang- 
ed into a girl. He was thereafter called 
Mudralopi and married to the sage Agastya." 

The warrior Sliikhandi who assisted t'le 
Pandavas in killing Bliishma (who had vcwed 
not to raise his arms against a woman ) was at 
first a girl, and was subsequently transformed 
into a boy by the boon of the gods.^'^ 

There is supposed to be a forest of Parvati 
in a continent called Ilavrit. Any man visiting 
it is at once turned into a woman.^^ 

A king named Sudyaman visited this forest 
and was transformed into a woman. It was 
only after appeasing Parvati by a sacrifice 
that he was restored to his original form.^- 

It is believed that in Kaniaru Desha or the 
land of fairies, children are transformed into 
the opposite sex by the spell of the inhabit- 
ants.^* 



2 The School Master of Ganod. 
•• The School Master of Bhayiivadar 
6 The School Master of Sanka. 
8 The School Master of Dhank. 
i« The School Master of Ganod. 
12 The School Master of Bhayavadar. 
of Jetpur. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



125 



A belief is current that change of sex can be 
effected by the performance of the Shatchandi 
or the pratjoga of Rudra, Bahueharaji, Asha- 
puri and Mahakali.i 

It is also believed that change of sex can 
also be effected by the spell of magic.- 

There is a further belief th'at Yogis by their 
incantations, and Mahalmds by their blessings 
or curses, can efl'eet a change of sex.^ 

The follo'wiug things are considered 
efficacious in protecting oneself against evil 
spirits: — 

(l) A sword, (2) iron,^ ( 3 ) a woollen 
blanket, (4) fire, ( 5 ) a coin in the funeral 
pyre, (6) a nail of a tiger, (7) a blue thread, 

(8) the red lead offered to tiic god Hanuman, 

( 9 ) a lime consecrated with incantations, 

(10) five kinds of cotton thread worn round 
the elbow, 3 (ll) blood, (12) corn, (13) frank- 
incense, (14) salt, (15) water (16) leather, 

(17) an amulet of iron procured from a well 
polluted by the death of some one in its water, 'J 

(18) a garland, the beads of wiiich are made 
of the wood of the Ehal her (ZizypJius jujuba) 

(19) The sacred thread worn by Brahmans,'^ 

(20) ii"on nails extracted from a wheel of a 
cart used for carrj'ing fuel for cremation,* 

(21) human blood,* (2^!) a costly jewel. 
Amulets are generally used as a precaution 

against the attack of evil spirits or the influ- 
ence of an evil eye. They are also used to 
cure diseases. They are made of iron, copper, 
tin, gold, silver, alloys of precious metals, or 
leather. 

Chitkis or pieces of paper on which mystic 
signs are drawn are put into the amulets and 
are tied to the forearm with black woollen or 
silk thread.* 



In some places, frankincense of gugal 
(Canarium strictum) or lobdn (olibanum) i* 
offered to the amulets before they are worn.i* 
Amulets are also made of fad-patras (palm- 
leaves). They are tied round the arm with an 
indigo-coloured cloth. '^i 

Doras or threads are also worn witii the 
same object as amulets. They are generally 
made of five kinds of silk thread, black wool, 
or red or black cotton thread. The length of 
the dora must be eight feet, one and a quarter 
of a cubit or a man's height. They must have 
three folds and must be twisted seven or twenty- 
one times. After they are twisted, they are 
knotted seven, fourteen or twenty-one times 
when they become ready for use. An offering 
of frankincense made of gugal or of lobdn is 
made to a dora before it is worn.i- 

It is believed by some people, that a chili 
(amulet) or dora in order to be effective, must 
not be touelied with water. 

The dora of the god Kalbhairav at Benares, 
which is made of silk thread with seven twists, 
is tied round the wrist of a patient in the 
belief that it cures illness. 

A janjiro (black cotton thread witJi seven 
knots) of the god H.munian is worn round the 
arm with the same belief. 

Surakano^ that is, twisted iron wire, conse- 
crated by the worshipper of the goddess 
Machhu, is worn by the Bharvads round the 
elbow or the wrist with the belief that it 
cures wind. ' 

Those people whose children do not live 
long put silver anklets round their left legs 
in the belief that ^by so doing their life is 
lengthened.^' 



2 The School Master of Mota Devalia. 
* The School Master of Dhank. 
« The School Master of Kolki. 



' The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

' The D. E. Inspector, Halar. 

5 The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

' The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohilwild. 

* Anklets are made of these nails and worn round the wrist.— The School Master of Zinzuwada. 

« The School Master of Vasvad. ' The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

■1 The School Master of Dhank. " The School Master of Gohilwad. 

'2 The School Master of Dhank. »■> The School Master of Todia. 



126 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



An amiilet made of a piece of cloth is called 
dhdga.^ It is citlici- a piece ol' clotli used 
by .1 lioly man, a piece of cloth containing a 
mixture of red lead and oil offered to the god 
Hanunian,2 or a piece of clotli in which are 
wrapped up the things put into an amulet. 
The (llidga is either worn round the wrist or 
suspended from the neck.'' 

Amulets tied to the horns of pet animals 
such as cows, bullocks, horses, etc., are called 
damands. Sometimes they are also suspended 
from tile necks of these animals. They are 
made of tlie hides of sacred animals and are 
believed to protect the animals against the evil 
•eye, evii spirits and magic.* 

It is believed by soiue people that one can 
escape injury from an evil spirit bj' seat- 
ing oneself in a circle or square drawn in and 
plastex'ed with cowdung/' 

Others hold that the circle must be drawn 
with the point of a sword. ^ 

Some maintain tliat tlie circle cannot be a 
protective unless it is drawn with enchanted 
water, milk or sesanmin oil. 

There are others who are of opinion that 
the entry of evil spirits into the circle can be 
prevented only by calling upon God not to 
allow the evil spirits to enter it." 

When an evil spirit is expelled from the 
body of a jjerson, it is buried underground, a 
circle of water is made round the spot and an 
iron nail is driven into the ground, in order 
that it may be imprisoned there." 

If anybody step into such a circle, the evil 
spirit confined therein takes possession of him, 
and is thus freed. * 

To prevent this, e\ il sjiirits are generally 
confined in secluded spots.^ 

As the circle drawn by the jjoint of a sword 
is a protection against an evil spirit, those 



who go to the burning ground to propitiate or 
subjugate e\il spirits, seat themselves in such 
circles while reciting mantras^^ 

After entering the circle, some people recite 
the name of Hanumfin, CJiandi or IShairav.^' 

Some people, after seating themselves in 
the circle, make offerings to the evil spirits, 
while reciting mantras, to propitiate tliem 
more easily. The Kali chaudas or the four- 
teenth day of the d.uk li.ilf of Ashvin is 
considered a suitable day fur propitiating or 
subjugating evil spirits. i- 

There are various superstitious beliefs 
entertained by people regarding on-ens. 

1. If when leaving the house on a visit or 
with some definite object in view, a deer 
crosses one's path fron. right to left, it is 
considered a bad omen, while crossing from 
left to right is consid'i-ed good. On returning 
home, this omen is re.id in the reverse way to 
that just stated. ^" 

2. When starting on a journey, the bray- 
ing of an ass on the right is a good omen and 
on the left, evil.^' 

3. If on leaving the house, a man meets an 
unwidowed woman or a virgin with a jar filled 
with water on her head, it is an indication that 
the object of the expedition will be accom- 
plished. '^ 

'I. While starting on a good errand, if one 
breathes through the left nostril or comes 
across a person carrying a basket of eggs, it is 
a good omen. 

5. If at the time of leaving for a visit to 
another town or village, the jjosition of the 
moon in the circle exiilaining the position of 
stars with reference to one's birth-day stars, 
be in the rear or on the left of that position, 
it is a bad omen, but if it be in the front 
or on the right it is a good omen. 



' Mr. K. D. Desfij. 
' Tlie Girl Sctiool-JIistress, Gondal. 
5 The Scliool Master of Dliank. 
' The Scliool Master of Dadvi. 
'■' The School Master of Dadvi. 
" The School Master of Chok. 
'3 The School Master of Dhiink. 

'5 The School Master of 



- The Falliashala Shastri, Jetpur. 
< Mr. K. D. Desai. 

6 The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
8 The School Master of Todia. 
'0 The School Master of Ganod. 
" The School Master of Zinzuvada. 
'* The School Masters of Dadvi and Dhaak. 
Dhunk. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



127 



Tlie moon in front uieans fulfiluient of 
the intended purpose, on the right, it confers 
liappiness and prosperity, on tlie back it 
causes deatli, and on the left, loss of wealth. 

6. Tlie warbling of the bird bhairav on 
the right while going out and on the left while 
returning is a good omen, but the opposite is 
bad.i 

7. A cat or a serpent crossing one's path 
is ominous of evil ; but if either passes on the 
right, it foretells good.^ 

8. A jackal howling in the evening prog- 
nosticates damage by fire to the town or 
village ; its how-ling at midnight predicts 
robbery ; wiiile in the last part of the night it 
foretells good, 

9. Kdg-rashids (expounders of the utter- 
ances of crows) know the good and bad 
indications of the croakings of crows. 

10. The wailing notes of the bird Favadi 
forebode evil.^ 

11. The throbbing of the right e3'e or side 
in the case of men and of the left eye or side 
in tlie case of women is considered to be a 
good omen, while the contrary is bad.^ 

12. If the bird holo sweeps the roof of 
<jne's house continuously for a number of days, 
a calamity is supposed to be imminent for the 
inmates of the house. 

13. If a dog barks in front of a man it is 
considered to be a bad omen.- 

A Brahman, a cow, fruits, flowers, milk, 
pearls, jewels, a prostitute, an elephant, an 
umbrella, meat, fish, a gun, a bayonet, a 
mirror, a mongoose, a peacock with its plumage 
expanded, girls singing songs, band-players 
and a washerman carrying washed clothes are 
all considered to be good omens, if one comes 
across them while going out on business.^ 



The sigJit of a king, an armed man, a Dhed, 
a Bhangi or a Darji is also considered to be an 
auspicious omen.^ 

The sight of boys going to or returning 
from school is a good omen.^ 

A labourer carrying a load of fuel on his 
head, a corpse in front, a potter carrying earth 
on his head or on his donkey, a woman carry- 
ing her son, a man carrying molasses, are all 
auspicious omens.'' 

A male monkej' or a donkey crying on the 
right while going out, and on the left while 
returning home is considered to be a good 
omen.''^ 

Wine and good siieech are also considered 
good omens. s 

The sight of a herdswoman, a dog scratch- 
ing its right side, a cuckoo singing on a tree 
or a black sparrow is a good omen.^ 

Fuel, hides, grass, vegetables, a smoking 
fire, scsamuui oil, molasses, a barren woman, 
an eneraj', a disorderly mob, a woman without 
the auspicious mark on her forehead, a man 
besmeared with oil, a eunuch, mud, wet clothes, 
an ascetic, a beggar, are all considered to be 
bad omens, if one sees them while going on 
business.-^" 

The sight of dry cow-dung cakes is sup- 
posed to be a bad omen.^^ 

The sight of a widow or of a corpse* is 
bad.i2 

Weasels crossing the road, dogs shaking 

their ears, a man carrying a black earthen 

vessel, a woman with loose hair, a person 
carrying clarified butter, a man with gray 

moustaches, a man having no hair on his chest, 
a cat-eyed man, a person carrying flour, a 
Brahman without the sacred mark on his fore- 
head are all bad omens.^^ 



• The School Master of Ganod. 

3 The School Master of Dhank. 

5 The School Master of Gaaod. 

' The School Master of Dadvi. 

9 The School Master of Songadh. 

" The School Master of Kotda Saiigani. 



= The School Master of Vanod. 
« The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
6 The School Master of Vanod. 
8 The School Master of Bhayavadar. 
>" The School Master of Dhank. 
" The School Master of Ganod. 



* The sight of a corpse is a good omen when on3 sees it on entering a village where he go s on 
business. '^ The School Mrster o.' Vano^. 



128 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



Tlie sight of tlie husk of corn, a man with 
a medicinal application, or a lunatic, is a bad 
omen. ^ 

Tlie question " hiiin jao chho " that is 
" W'liere are you going " is a bad omcu." 

The mixture of whey, mud and cow-dung, 
a recluse with malted hair, a man spitting, a 
cough, and a man with tlie whole of liis head 
shaved are bad omens''. 

Similarly, the sight of a dnmkard, Adad 
or cotton seeds is a bad omen.^ 

A bride stumbling on her entry into the 
bridegrooin''s house is said to be a bad omen.^ 

A dog scratching its left side with his paws, 
a man riding a he-buffalo or a donke)', two 
BaniSs, one Musalm'ni, one male goat, one ox, 
five she-bufFaloes, six dogs, three cows, or 
seven horses, confronting a man on starting 
from the house are ominous of evil.''' 

Some numbers are believed to be auspicious 
and some inauspicious. There is a book on 
this subject, in which some good or evil is 
attributed to each number. One who wants to 
know the result of the undertaking in liand 
puts his finger on any number in the book, 
and the expounder of the science, reading the 
passage bearing on the number, explains how 
the undertaking will end.' 

The numbers, 12, 18, 56 and 58 are consi- 
dered inauspicious.* 

An odd number is generally believed to be 
inauspicious. It is for this reason that newly- 
uiarried girls are not sent to their husbands' 
Louse for the first time in any of the odd 
years of their age. They are also not sent 
back to their parents' house in an odd year 
of their age for the same reason.' 



The numbers 5,7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, and 
21 are believed to be lucky while 3, 4, 8 and 
12 are considered unlucky. i" 

A belief exists that if a company of three 
start on a mission, the mission is sure to fail. 
This has given rise to the proverb" Tran irihat 
ane maha vikat " that is, "Three persons going 
on an errand meet with great difficulties or 
danger. ''^^ 

A zero is believed to be inauspicious. 
In monetary transactions or bargains, there- 
fore, all numbers ending in a zero are avoided. 
If such numbers are unavoidable, the sign 
of J is placed before them. The number 12 
is considered unlucky, to avoid which llo is 
used in its place.-'^ 

Some people believe that the luunbers 1], 
5, 7, 21, 108 and 1,008 are lucky while 12 is 
unlucky. ^^ 

It is a belief that in the sales of cattle and 
certain other things if the price is raised by 
1], it results in good both to the seller and 
buyer.' ^ 

It is for this reason that in subscribing to 
charitable funds people write 401 instead of 
400 and so on. But 1:^ is preferred to 1 in 
valuing things. So in all purchases and 
sales I] is added to the actual price of a 
thing.i' 

The numbers 5 and 7 are believed to be 
auspicious, because on starting on a journey 
from the house one is given five betelnuts as 
.'\ sign of good omen, while in all auspicious 
ceremonies seven betelnuts are used.'** 

Certain days of the week are considered 
lucky while others are considered unlucky. 
It is also believed that certain days are 



• The School Master of Dadvi. 

' The School Master of Bhayuvadar. 

6 The School Master of Todia. 

1 The School Master of Dhank. 

9 The School Master of Vanod. 

>l Mr. K. D. Desiii. 

" The School Master of Limbdi. 

W The School Master ot Todia. 



2 Mr. K. D. Desai. 

* The School Master of Limbdi. 

" The School Master of Songadh. • 

^ The School Master of Ganod. 

10 The School Master of Dadvi. 

'2 The Scliool Master of Mota Devalia. 

» Mr. K. D. Desai. 

"G The School Master of Todia. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



129 



auspicious for performing certain acts, wliile 
others are inauspicious for the performance 
of the same acts. 

Jlonday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 
are considered lucky, while Tuesday, Saturday 
and Sunday are believed to be unlucky.^ 

It is a common belief that one should not 
^o in certain directions on certain days ; for 
doing so results in what is called liisha-shul 
or pain caused by directions. - 

Going to the north on Sunday, to the west 
•on Tuesday, to the north-west on Monday, to 
the south-west on Wednesday, to the south on 
Thursday, to the south-east on Friday and to 
the east on Saturda}' is considered oniinous of 
evil.^ 

According to another belief, Sunday and 
Thursday are inauspicious for going to the 
south-east ; Monday and Friday, to the south- 
west ; Saturday and Tuesday, to the north- 
west and Wednesday to the north-east.* 

Some people believe that by going to the 
west on Monday or Saturday one secures the 
fulfilment of the desired object.'' 

Many bold that the favourableness or otlier- 
wise of the days for going in particular 
•directions varies according to the occasion.'^ 

The auspicious days for sending a girl to 
her husband's house are believed to be 
Monday, Thursday and Friday. Sunday and 
Tuesday are al§o considered auspicious for a 
o-irl to go to her house, but they are con- 
sidered very unlucky for her to return to her 

parents.^ 

It is forbidden to eat dalia (baked split 
gram) on Sunday, but it is favoured on 
Friday. 

Wednesday is considered to be a lucky day 
for sowing corn, and making purchases of new 
•articles. Thursday is believed to be auspi- 

' The School Master of Dbank. 
3 The School Master of Sayala. 
5 The School Master of Vanod. 
' The School Master of Kolki. 
3 The School Master of Zinzuvada. 
11 The School Master of Songadh. 



cious for sending a boy to sciiool for the first 
time.* 

Wednesday is considered unfavourable for 
the separation of brothers and sisters, but it is 
considered a suitable day for their meeting.^ 

It is believed that if a man wears new 
clotlies on Sunday they will be burnt ; if on 
Tuesdaj', they will be lost ; if on W^ednesday 
or Saturdaj-, a quarrel witli sou\e one is the 
result.io 

It is considered auspicious to go to a 
Chauiiir or l.'inner on Sunday, to a prostitute 
on Monday, to a KSchliia (vegetable seller) on 
Tuesday, to a washerman on Wednesday, to a 
Brahman on Thursday, to a Bania on Friday 
and to a barber on Saturday. ^^ 

The beliefs regarding the luck}' and unlucky 
days of a month are similar to those of the 
lucky and unlucky da3-s of the week. 

According to some, all the days of the 
bright half of a month are auspicious for 
performing any good act, while the days in 
the dark half are considered favourable for 
perpetrating black deeds. ^•^ 

Some believe that the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th, 
10th, nth, 13th and the full- moon day of a 
month are auspicious, while the 2nd, 4th, 7th 
9th and 14th, whether of the bright or dark 
half , as well as the new-moon day, are in- 
au'spicious.^^ 

According to another belief, the 1st, 6tli 
and 1 1th days of a month are good, the 3rd 
and 8th are dates of success (that is acts 
commenced on these days are crowned with 
success) ; the 5th, lOth and 15th are puma 
tithis, that is, complete days, (meaning that 
the moon on these days appears full one- 
third, full two-thirds and completely full) ; 
while the 2nd, 7th and 12th are auspicious days. 



- Mr. K. D. Desai. 

* The School Master of Ganod. 

^ The School Master of Ganod. 

8 The School Master of Bantva. 
10 The School Master of Todia. 
f The School Master of Dhank. 



13 The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 



130 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



Till- 4lli, 9tli and 14th days of a montli are WJjen a man is on tlie point of death the 

inauspicious.^ floor is cowdunged and an offering of sesamum 



Some hold that if the 1st, 4th, 12lh, 14lh seeds, Dunu gr.iss (eynadon dactylon) and 

Java (barley) is made to the deities. Next, 
water of the Ganges or the Jumna is dropped 
into the mouth of the dying man and the name 
of Ram is whispered in his ear, as this is- 
believed to turn liis consciousness to God and 
thus facilitate his way to the other world. 

^A'hen a patient is c mvinced that his case 
is hopeless, he distributes money or other 
valuable articles among Brahmans, as this is- 
believed to make his way to heaven eas}'. 

When life is extinct, the corpse is placed on 
the cow-dunged floor and then carried on a 
bier to the burning ground with the cries of 
" Shri Riim ", " Ram ", " Ram nam satya 



and 30tli day of a month fall on a Saturdav 
they are good ; otiierwise bad.- 

The 1st, 13th or 14tli day of either the 
bright or dark lialf of a month, as well as the 
full-moon and new-uioon day, are considered 
unfavourable to [lalicnts.-' 

The 2n(l, 14th and the last day of a month 
are consideied unlucky. Those da^-s on which 
there is a pancUak — a grouping of constellations 
lasting for five consecutive days — are \ery 
inauspicious fur commencing auspicious 
acts.' 

A belief prevails that any one dying in a 
panchak draws five companions to lieaveii, 
that is, his death is followed by the death of 
four others of the same village."' 

A son born on tlie full-moon day is believed 
to turn out brave, but is supposed to forebode 
evil to the parents.'' 

If a girl is born on the 2nd, 7th or 12th 
day of a month falling on a Tuesday or 
Saturday in the Ashlesha, Kritikd or Shitt- 
bhilla nakshatra^ she loses her husband.^ 

The Mid nakshatra falling on the 1 st day 
of a month, Bharani on the 5th, Kritika on 
the 8th, iZo/iiw; onthe 9th and /is/i?e«/fa on the 
10th, has an effect like a volcano. A girl born 
on the 1st, 6th or 11th day of a month falling 
on a .Saturday, Tuesday or Sunday in the 
Kritika or Mrigsliar nakshatra is like poison_ 
She is supposed to cause the death of herself, 
her husband, or all the members of her father's 
family.** 

Some of the Hindu holidays are considered 
auspicious for performing certain deeds, while 
inauspicious for performing certain others.'' 
•■" The ceremonies described below are per- 
formed to help the spirit to the other world. 



hai ",* or " Jaya Shri Krishna "'. In the fuel 
with which it is burnt is put Tiihi (sweet 
basil) Pipal and sandal wood and cocoanuts. 
The bones and ashes are collected and pre- 
served, to be tlirown into the DSmodar kund, 
(pool of water) at Gaya or other holy waters. 
For three days after death, holy water and 
milk is offered to the spirit of tiie deceased. 
On the 10th, 11th and 12th day after death, 
on ail the days of every month in the first 
year corresponding to tiie day of death, and on 
every anniversary of tiie deatli, Shraddha is 
performed. Shraddha is also performed 
annually on the day corresponding to the day 
of death in the dark half of the month 
of Bhadrapad, 

The ceremonies mentioned above are believed 
to make the passage of the soul to the other 
World easy. For liis final emancipation a man 
must renounce all pleasures of the senses and 
all egotism.^" 



' The School Master of Moti Parabadi. 

3 The School Masters of Ganod and Vanod. 

5 Mr. K. D. Desai. 

' The School Master of Limhdi. 



- The School Master of Charjidvj. 
1 The Schaol Master of Kolki. 
c The School Master of Mota Devalia. 
8 The School Master of Zinzuvada. 



^ Mr. K. D. Desai. 
* " The name of Rfim is alone true ' ' meaning all else except God is illusion. 
»c The School Master of Dhank and Mr. K, D. Desai. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



131 



Giving alms to the poor, lioldiiig recitations 
of the Bhaguat^ performing the Vishnu Ydg, 
Gtii/atri-purashcanin iind the Chdndrayan vrat 
arc also believed to make the passage of the 
soul to heaven easy.^ 

In order that the departing spirit may meet 
with no obstruction on the way, cows, articles 
of dress, shoes and food are presented to a 
Brahman for one year after death. 2 

Places for offering water to j)assers by, and 
houses in which to feed the needy, are also 
established by well-to-do people with the same 
object." 

The gift of sacks for holding corn, of 
umbrellis, blankets and bedding to travellers, 
is also believed to smooth the passage of the 
soul to heaven.* 

The perforn;ance of the shrdddhas and 
otlier ceremonies mentioned above is believed 
to prevent the return of the spirit to this 
world." 

Observing fasts by the survivors of the 
deceased on the Rishi Paiicliami (the 5th day 
of the bright half of B^iddrapad), the 
Jamdshtami (the eighth day of the dark half 
of Sltrdi-an) and the Rdmnavami (the ninth 
day of the bright half of Chaitra) is also 
believed to prevent the return of a spirit from 
heaven. Some worship the Pipal with the 
same object." 

Reading the Garud Purdii for nine days 
after death is also believed to be a means of 
preventing the return of tiie soul to this 
world. ^ 

Some people believe that performing 
shrdddha in sixty-eight holj- places secures 
this end.'** 

Dailv offerings of rice and water to the 
departed spirits also prevent them from 
revisiting this world.'' 



The same means which are adopted to help 
the spirit to the other world and to prevent its 
return also secure its good-will to the survi- 



vors.^" 

Persons living on the banks of the Ganges 
do not burn the dead, hut throw the corpses 
into the holy water of the river .^^ 

If a pregnant woman dies in the eighth 
month of her pregnancy, the foetus is taken 
out by cutting open tlie womb and buried, 
while the woman is burnt. ^- 

Corpses of persons dying an unnatural 
death are burnt in a Gondaro (place where 
the village cows rest) or on the village com- 
mon, in the belief tliat by so doing the 
deceased escapes divine wrath and is freed 
from rebirth. 1^ 

When a grave is commenced in a certain 
spot, the corpse must be buried on that spot, 
even though the ground be rocky or otherwise 
imsuitable. As far as possible, the corpses of 
relatives are buried near one another. ^■^ 

The occasions on which the hair is shaved 
are as follows : — 

1. When a boy attains the age of three 
j'ears, his head is shaved completely for the 
first time. 

2. At the time of performing sTirdddha in 
holy places, the head, except the top-knot, and 
the moustaches and face must be shaved. 

3. On the ninth day after the death of a 
man, all his male relatives younger than him- 
self have to shave their heads, except the 
top-knot, and the moustaches and chin. 

4. On the day of investing a boy with 
the sacred thread his head is shaved before 
the investiture. 

5. Amongst high caste Hindus the heads 
of widows are shaved on the tenth day after 
the death of their husbands. ^ ' 



- The School Master of Ganod. 

^ The School Master of Khirasara. 

^ The School Master of Dhank. 

' Mr. K. D. Desai. 

' The School Master of Vanod. 
11 The School Master of Kotda Sangani 
'3 The School Master of Chhatr.'isa. 



= The School Master of Pfitanvav. 
i The School Master of Halar. 
« The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
8 The School Master of Kolki. 

10 The School Master of Dhank and Mr, K. D. Desai. 
12 The School Master of Ganod. 

11 The School Master of Dhank. 



132 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



6. Gorjis or preceptors of the Atits, 
Shravalis and Sanyasis ]iave to get tlieir 
heads shaved at the time of entering the 
order.^ 

7. All tlie male relatives of the deceased 
have to get tlicir Iicads sliaved on the ninth 
day after death. 

8. A tits and Bavas get the heads of their 
disciples shaved at the time of admitting 
them into tlieir order.- 

9. Tlie prcceplors of the Swami Narayan 
sect shave oft' their moustaches every time 
they shave tlieir heads." 

10. At the time of admitting a Jain to 
the ascetic order of the religion, the hairs of 
Ills head are pulled out one by one until the 
head is completely bald.^ 

11. On the occasion of a man being re- 
admitted to his o'.vn caste, out of which he 
has been expelled for some breach of caste 
rules, he has to shave his head and face by 
way of prdi/aschitta or atonement.^ 

It is believed that if the head of a widow 
is not shaved on the tenth day after the 
<ieatli of iier husband, his soul is not admit- 
ted to lieaven, and the funeral ceremonies 
jierformed in his honour bear no fruit,° 

The heads of such widows are shaved on 
the banks of the Godavari or at Benares or at 
some other holy place in the neighbourhood.'^ 

The spirits of the dead are represented by 
balls of rice flour or cooked rice, and offerings 
of water, cotton thread, red powder, ahir 
(white scented powder), red lead, sandal 
paste, frankincense, lamps, sesamum seeds and 
of the leaves of tlic Tulsi^ the tamarind, the 
Agathio or Agaihi (Sesbania grandifiora) 
and the Bhangra, and the flowers and seeds 
of tlie Java, are made to them. 



The ancestral spirits are also represented 
by chats (twisted braids of the Durva grass 
(Cynodon Dactylon), and to them are offered 
the Suran (Eephant-foot) cooked rice, fried 
cakes of tlie flour of mag (Phaseolus mungo) 
rice cooked in milk, etc.'' 

It is believed that the departed spirits are 
pleased witli offerings of pindas or rice- 
balls.s 

Pindas arc also made of wheat flour or 
molasses. Costly dislies, sesamum seeds 
honey, curdled milk, clarified butter, and 
sugarcandy are also offered to the manes^ 

Ti.e pindas are generally offered on tlie 
10th, 11th and 12th day after death and on 
the occasion of performing sTiraddha^^'^ 

Rice balls are also offered to crows or 
thrown into water in the belief that by so 
offering they reach the spirits of deceased 
ancestors.^" 

A belief prevails that the messengers of 
the god of death eat the flesh of the deceased 
if pindas are not offered to them. So, in 
ancient times, offerings of flesh balls were 
made instead rice ones.^^ 

It is believed that male and female evil 
spirits such as bhiits and pishachas manifest 
themselves as dogs, notably black dogs, 
goats, fire, the whirl-wind, snakes or 
children. 12 

They may assume the form of a he-buffalo, 
a heifer, a ram, a man, a womanji-^ a lion^ a 
tiger or a cat.^* 

The evil spirit called jan is believed to 
manifest itself as a snake.^"' 

The voice of an evil spirit in any of the 
above forms is heard from a distance, and 
the nearer the hearer approaches the more it is 
found to recede.^'' ^ 



1 The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
' The School Master of Baiitva. 
5 The School Master of Ganod. 
7 The School Master of Dhank. 
5 The School Master of Ganod. 



2 The School Master of Ganod. 
4 The School Master of Uptela. 
c Mr. K. D. Desai. 

s The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
!» The School Master of Dadvi. 
"^ The School Mistress, Girls' school, Civil Station, Rajkot. 
'-' The School Master of Dhank. 13 7i,e School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

'^ The School Masters of Chhatrusa and Uptela. '= The School Master of Dadvi. 

■^ The School Master of Chhatrasa. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



133 



Among Bharvads and Sonis, seven or nine 
earthen pots are broken in the house of the 
deeeastd on the tenth day after death. TJie 
number of the pots varies according to tlie 
individual merits of the deceased. ^ 

Among some low castes, an earthen pot is 
broken on the village boundary and another 
in the burning gromid.^ 

Some break an earthen pot at the village 
gate on their way back from the cemetery after 
tile performance of shraddha.^ 

In some places, the earthen pots placed 
on the spot where the corpse is laid in the 
house are broken at the village gate.^ 

In some low castes two tartlien pots are 
placed on tlie village boundary on the 
twelftli day after deatl), and broken by 
children.'' 

Some carry the funeral fire in a black 
eartlun jar as far as tile village gate, where 
the jar is broken and tlie fire carried in the 
hand, by one of the njourners, to the burning 
ground." 

According to some, this breaking of an 
earthen pot is a symbol indicating tliat the 
connection of the deceased with this world iias 
broken or ceased. ' 

Others hold that it indicates the disintegra- 
tion of the constituents of the body into the 
elements of which it was formed.* 

There are others who are of opinion that 
tlie messengers of the god of death are satisfied 
with the breaking of an earthen pot after 
an ofl'ering to them of six rice balls and 
water.^ 

When a death takes place in a family, a 
prana-poka or deatli-wail is raised by the 



chief mourner, who is joined afterwards by 
the other relatives. ^'^ 

Tlie prdna-poka is believed to open tlir gates 
of heaven for the admission of tile suul.'i 

Some are of opinion that the object of tile 
death-wail, which begins with " nidra bhai !'' 
that is, '' Oh my brother ! " or ' O mam 
bap I" that is, "Oh my father!'", is that at 
the moment of death, the soul, by hearing the 
sound 'Om ' may ascend to the 6ra/i)Kflra«(//(,ra 
or the divine seat of the brain and thus attain 
salvation. 12 

When tlie funeral party start witii the bier 
for the burning ground, the women of tlie 
house, accompanied by otlier women of the 
neighbourhood or village, follow them as far 
as the village gate, crying and singing fmieral 
dirges. There they stop a while and sing 
more funeral dirges, keeping time by beating 
their breasts. They then start to return hmue, 
and, on their way, bathe in a tank or well and 
again mourn for some time before entering tlie 
liouse. Tile funeral party enter tlie house 
after the women and cry aloud for a few 
seconds. They also cry wlien tlie pyre is set 
on fire.l-' 

Tile mourning of the women eoiitiiiuts for 
thirteen* days after deatli. They also weep on 
such holidays as the Holi, tlie Divdli, tte., 
and on the quarterly, six-montlily and tlie 
first amiiversary Shrdddha day.i^ 

Male relatives of the deceased wear a white 
turban as a sign of mourning-.^' 

It is generally believed that bhuti- or evil 
spirits prove beneficial to those who succeed 
in securing locks of their hair or subjugate 
them bv incantations or magical riies.^'' 



1 The School Master of Vanod. ' The School Master of Dadvi. 

3 The School Master of Gunjar. * The School Master of Bhayavadar. 

5-- The School Master of Ganod; « The School Master of Halar. 

7 The School Master of Dadvi. ^ The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

' The School Mistress, Civil Station Girls' School, Rajkot. 

=0 The School Master of Dhank. " The School Master of Gunjar. 

12 The School Mistress of Civil Station Girls'Scliool, Rajkot and the School Master of Todia. 

13 Mr. K. D. Desai. 
* It is believed that the spirit of the deceased returns to its house for thirteen days after death. 
Hence the period of mourning is thirteen days.— The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
^i The School blaster of Ganod. " The School Master of Todia. 

>6 The School Master of Dhank. 



134 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



Siicli spirits generally belong to the class 
of tlie Buvan^ tiie Fir, the Dabro^ Mdmo, 
ViiitSl^ Daddiiio and Yalsha. Of these, 
JMSmo, Fir. J'a'ttal .uid Diidamo prove benefi- 
cial through favour, while tlic rest becouie the 
slaves of those who subdue thcm.^ 

[t is believed that t^uro Ptiro and Dado 
favour only their blood relations. - 

It is related that in building the nuuierous 
tanks and temples attributed to Siddhraj 
Jaysiug, a former king of GujarSt, he was 
nssisted by the spirit Bnhario whom lie had 
brought under his control.-' 

A tradition is current that Tulsidis, tlie 
cclebratfd .■uithor of th,' Rcimayan in Hindi 
and .1 great devotee of Riirn, had sicured 
personal visits from the god Hanumin through 
thf f.ivour of a ghost. 

The king Vikram is said to have received 
gre it services from the evil spirits Vaifal and 

In a book tiititlcd Fuitdla Pachisi it is 
described how .i hhiit lived on a banyan tree 
in Ujjain.' 

It is related tlial in Rajkot .i bhut called 
hunthia lived on a banyan tree.'' 

To the east of Kolki there is a tree called 
Jala which is inhabited by a mdmo. It is 
related that the mdmo frightens persons pass- 
ing by the tree. Near the school at Kolki 
there is a Pipal on which lives a sikoturun 
who frightens people passing along tiie 
road.'' 

Is is related that a mdmo lived on a 
Khijado tree at the gate of the village Surel. 
He manifested himself, dressed in white 
garments, for a period of nearly ten years. 
Once lie frightened several persons but of 
their senses. It is said that on his being propi- 
tiated with an offering of wheaten bread at 



his abode (the Khijado tree), these persons 
recovered their senses.* 

The Ilabib-Fad or Habib's banyan tree on 
the road leading from Mavaiya to Gondal is a 
f.ivourite haunt of blnits, who frighten and 
stupefy persons passing by that road.'' 

There is a step-well near Hampar under 
the jurisdiction of Dhrangadhra wliich is the 
resort of a bhut. ■ A Girasia and his wife 
arrived here one day at midnight. The 
Girasia tied his mare to a tree hard by, and 
went to the well to fetch water for the mare. 
On his return lu- found there a number of 
mares like his own tied to tlu- trees. He there- 
fore smelt their mouths to recognise which of 
them was his own, but in the flurry caused by the 
appearance of so many mares, his waist-cloth 
got entangled, and while mounting his mare 
he fell down, which frightened him so much 
that he exclaimed ' I am overtaken (by a. 
ghost )" and died.^" 

It is related that in tiie Chhdlidchok at 
Limhdi. no woman has yet succeeded in reci:- 
ing a garcibi (song) in honour of the goddess 
Mahakrdi to the end, as a ghost which lives 
on the tamarind tree opposite the chok 
(square) is averse to its completion. 

There is a house at Porbandar haunted by 
a ghost, in which none is able to reside.*^ 

It is believed that only those trees, the 
wood of which cannot be used for sacrificial 
purposes, can be haunted by evil spirits. 
Such trees are the Kliljado^ the Bdval^ 
the Kerddo and the tamarind. ^'- 

Kshctrapdl is believed to be the guardian 
spirit of fields and Suiopuro and Mdmado 
are believed to protect harvest and cattle. ^^ 



' The School Masters of Vanod and Kotda Sangani. 

= The School Master of Dadvi. ' ^he School Master of Kolki. 

* The School Master of Uptela. ' The School Master of Ddank. 

<'' The Scliool Mistress of Girls' school, Gondal, and the School Master of Dhank. 
' The School Master of Kolki ^ The School Master of Surel. 

^ The School Master of Mfivaiya. '" The School Master of Lilapur. 

>' The School Master of Linibdi. '= The School Master of Moti Murad. 

'3 The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



135 



It is also believed that the spirit jakhara 
protects crops and cattle.^ 

MSmo and Dadamo are also believed by 
some to be the guardian spirits of crops and 
cattle.2 

A belief runs that if a cousin (father s 
brother's son) becomes a spirit after death, 
be proves beneficial to the cattle of his rela- 
tives.^ 

There are various ways of frightening 
crying children to silence, one of whicli is to 
invoke evil spirits. 

When a child continues to cry for a long 
time, the mother says, " keep quiet, Bdghada 
has come." " Oh Bdu^ come and take away 



this child." " Bdbara^ come here. Don't 
come, my child is now silent,'' " May Bdghada 
carry you away. These exclamations are 
uttered in such a tone and with such gestures, 
that generally the child is at once frightened 
into silence.^ 

In addition to the spirits mentioned above 
Babaro Chudda^ Dakana^ Satarsingo and 
other spirits are also invoked to frighten a 
weeping child to silence.'' 

A BSva or Bairdgi, a Fakir, a tiger, a dog, 
a cat or a rat are all presented to the child as 
objects of terror, and are called one after 
another to silence it.*^ 



' The School Master of Jetpur. 

3 The School Master of Zinzuwada. 

5 The School Master of Dhank. 



2 The School Master of Rajpara. 
4 Mr. K. D. Desai. 
« Mr. K, D. Desai. 



CHAPTER VII. 



TREE AND SERPENT WORSHIP. 



Certain trees are considered holy, and tliey 
are neither cut nor their wood used as fuel. 

The Pipal is one of such trees. It is con- 
sidered to be the incarnation of a Brahman, 
and to cut it is considered to be as great a 
sin as murdering a Brahman. It is believed 
that the family of one who cuts it becomes 
extinct.^ 

Some people believe that the spirits of the 
deceased do not get water to drink in the next 
world. The water poured at the root of the 
Pipal on the 13th, 14th and 15th day of the 
dark half of Kiirtik and Shrdvan and on the 
14th day of the bright half of Chaitra is 
believed to reach these spirits and quench 
their thirst. ^ 

Although to cut the Pipal is supposed to be 
a great sin, it is believed that if a corpse is 
burnt with its wood, the soul of the deceased 
attains salvation.'' 

The Vad or banyan tree is believed to be a 
representation of the god Shiva.* There is 
a proverb to the effect that one who cuts this 
tree is punished with the extirpation of his 
family.^ 

According to another belief, the god Vishnu 
once slept on this tree." 

The Tulsi or sweet basil is considered to 
represent Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu. It is 
also related that Krishna wanted to kill the 
demon Jalandhar, but he could not be killed 
on account of the merit of the chastity of his 
wife Vrinda. Krishna, therefore, assumed 
the form of Jalandhar, violated the chastity 
of Vrinda, and was thus enabled to kill 
the demon. Krishna next expressed a desire 



to marry ^'rinJa, when she transformed her- 
Self into the Tulsi plant. It is considered an 
act of great religious merit to wed Krishna 
with the Tulsi, and this marriage is cele- 
brated every year b}' all Hindus on the lltli 
day of the bright half of Kdrtik otherwise 
called Dev Divali. 

It is considered a great sin to uproot this 
l)lant, though no sin attaches to the plucking 
of its leaves during the day time. Tlie 
leaves of the Tulsi are considered holy and 
are offered to the image of the god Vishnu 
and are required in all religious ceremo- 
nies." 

Tlie Khijado or Shami tree is also held 
sacred. When tlie Pandavas lost their king- 
dom in gambling with the Kauravas, the 
latter promised the former that they would 
give them back their kingdom if they lived in 
the forest for twelve years and unknown for 
one year. After having completed their stay 
in the forest, the Pandavas remained unknown 
for one year in the city of Virat. During 
tliis year they concealed tlieir weapons on a 
Khijado tree. Before taking these weapons, 
they worshipped the tree. Next took place 
the great battle of Kurukshetra in which the 
Pandavas won a splendid victory. This lias 
given rise to the custom of worshipping the 
tree on the tenth day of the bright half of 
Ashvin or the Dasara day.^ 

It is a common belief that a tree haunted 
by ghosts should not be cut. So the Khijado 
is not cut, because it is the favourite residence 
of ghosts." 



1 Tfie School Master of Ganod. 

3 Mr. K. D. Desai. 

5 Tfie Scbool Master of Moti Parabdi. 

I Mr. K. D. Desai. 



2 Tlie School Master of Todia. 
4 The School Master of Dhank. 
6 The School Master of Todia. 
8 Mr. K. D. Desai. 



9 The School Master of Chhatrusa. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



137 



The Kadamh (Anthocephaliis caduinba) is 
consiikrt'd sacrt-d bicausc it is believed that 
God Krislina rested luider this tree when he 
took cattle to graze. '^ 

The Limbdo (Nim tree) is aUo considered 
sacred as it represents tlie god Braliina.- 
Some believe tliat it represents Jagannathji.^ 

Tlie Rudraksha is believed to be a represen- 
tation of the god Shiva. It is therefore 
considered a sin to cut it. Garlands of Rudra. 
ksha beads are worn round the neck by the 
devotees of Shiva. 

The leaves of the Bel (Acgle marraelos) are 
offered to tlie god Shiva as tliey are sitpposed 
to be liked by liim. It is also considered a sin 
to cut this tree.* 

The Karan (Miuuispos he.xandra) is believed 
to be a representation of Shiva. A grove of 
the Karan trees is supposed to be inhabited 
by natural powers called Matds and to cut a 
Karan is supposed to bring disaster to the 
cutter.-' 

Tke Maravo (Marjoram) is considered sacred 
by Musaluiflus. They dip its leaves into oil 
and rub them against the face of a corpse." 

Tiiere is a temple of Bhimnath Mahadev 
near Baravala in tlie shade of an ancient Jdl 
tree. The worshipper at the temple, a wealthy 
man, once thought of erecting a grand temple 
over the image, but he was prevented from 
doing so by the god appearing in his dream 
and telling him that he preferred to live under 
the tree.^ 

Under a Jfil tree near Dhandhuka there is 
a shrine of Bhimnath Shankar who is known 
as Bhimnath Jalviilo after the tree.* 

There is a Snkhotia tree near Kutinna, which 
is supposed to be the abode of a snake deity. ^ 

Near Rajkot in Kathiriwar tliere is a tree I 
called Gandu or mad, vows in honour of which i 
are said to cure children of bronchites.^" [ 



In the village of Vadal near Bhiyal in the 
Juniigadh State there is a banyan tree called 
Ldl I ad said to have sprung from the sticks 
of a Fad (banyan) used as tooth brushes by 
Lai Bava, a preceptor of the Vaislinav school. 
A silver staff and silver umbrella belonging to 
Lai Bava are kept near this tree, which is 
visited and worshipped by the followers of the 
preceptor. ^^ 

It is related that in this Ldl I'ad there is an 
opening through which the virtuous can pass 
to tlic other side, but not the sinful. ^^ 

There are two banyan trees near Anandpur, 
one of which is called Bhut-vnd or the banyan 
tree of the evil spirits, as it is supposed to be 
inhabited by ghosts. The other is called J'isal- 
vad^ because a devotee named Visanian Bhagat 
lived under this tree.''' 

There is a branch of the foUowers of Kabir 
called Khijdda Panth, They worship the 
Khijdda or ■Shami in their temples. ^^ 

There is a belief that the sanctity attached 
to the Pipal tree has been the act of the god 
Krishna. Tliis tree is invested with a sacred 
thread.i"' 

According to tradition, Krishna breathed his 
last under a Pipal tree.l" 

It is related that once blood gushed forth 
from a Pipal tree when it was cut. Thence- 
forward it came to be regarded as a Brahman 
and it is no longer cut.^'^ 

There is a Pipal tree in the village of Prachi 
near Prablias Pfitan, vows in whose honour 
are believed to favour childless persons with 
children.i^ 

It is described in the Purdii'is that Savitri,. 
the daugliter of King Ashupati, lost her 
husband within a year after her marriage. 
The death took place under a banyan tree, by 
worshipping which, Savitri succeeded in revi- 



' The School Master of Todia. 

3 The School Master of Dadvi. 

5 The School Master of Kolki. 

' The School Master of Dhiink. 

^ The School Master of Dhank. 
" The School Master of Bhayavadar. 
'^ The School Master of Anandpur. 
" The School Master of Dhank. 
^' The School Master of Chhatrasa. 



- The School Master of Zinzuvada. 

* The School Master of Vanod. 

^ Ti e School Master of Dadvi. 

' The School Master of Kolki. 
'» The School Master of Dhank. 
'' The School Master of Uptela. 
I* The School Masters of Ganod and Khirasara. 
18 The School Master of Kolki, 
'8 The School Master of Limbdi. 



138 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



ving lit-r luisband. Since tlu-n woim-n ))crform 
a vow called Vat Savitri Vrat on tin- 1 ?tli, Htli 
.uul 15tli (l.iys of tin- bri^lit lialf of J ctha by 
obsfrviiiy; a fast and worsliipping and circ'\uii- 
ambulating the banyan trec.^ 

There is a legend that in inytliologieal times 
a Woman named Vrinda was cursed to be a 
plant for infidelity to her husband. She 
became tlie Tulsi (sweet basil), M-]iich is held 
sacred by Hindus, and worshipped by woii.en * 

On the top of the hill in the village of Jas- 
dan there are two tall trees called ' mad trees'. 
As the fruits of these trees resemble the face 
of a saint, they are considered divine and 
worshipiK'd with offerings of red lead, oil and 
cocoanuts.'' 

YVmongst Rajputs, during the marriage 
ceremony, the bride has to walk four times 
round the sacrificial fire in the company of the 
bridegroom. Two of these turns are generally 
taken witli a wooden blade called Khdndu.'' 

When a girl loses her betrothed twice in 
succession, she is married to a Pipal tree before 
being betrothed for the third time.^ 

If the bfti-othril iiusbaud of a girl dies before 
tlie celebration of the marriage, she is married 
to a Pipal or Ankila (a ))i)isonous plant) in the 
belief that the danger of death will fall on the 
tree and th-.t tin- next liusband of the girl will 
survive.*^ 

If a man loses two wives one after the other, 
he is married to a Shaml tree before he is 
married again, and his third marriage is called 
the fourth.'' 

In some places, such a man is married to 
a Bordi (Zizyphus .Jujuba) instead of a 
Sbami.''' 

In some places, il' a nrin'^ wives do not live, 
his next wife is m irriid to an Ankdi plant 
before her marriage with him.* 



A bilief prevails that an insane maiden is 
cured of her insanity if married to the field 
god Kshetrapal.*" 

If a girl attains pub.rty before marria.;e, 
she is married to a Pipal tree. A girl with 
congenital deformities is also married to a 
Pipal tree " 

It is g.n^rally b.;lieved that if a betrothed 
girl touches red lead, she is carried away by 
Kshctrapal.i- 

Tlie belief that Kshetrapal carries away tlie 
bride from the marriage altar is so common, 
that a stone representing the god is placed on 
the marriage altar and touched by the bridal 
pair at every turn round the sacrificial fire.*'* 

If this is not done, disastrous consequences 
follow, to .iverl which, that portion of the 
marriage ceremonj' in which Kshetrapal is pro- 
pitiated has to be performed a second time.*' 

Disagreement between husband and wife 
soon after marriage is attrib.ited to the wr.itli 
of Kshetrapill. To bring about a reconeil.ition 
between them, they are taken to a triangular 
field and married there to please the god.*'' 

All Hindus worship the snake. The day 
especially devoted to its worshi)3 is the fifth 
day of the briglit half of ■Shravaii, which is 
called yUg panclunni. In some places ^ag 
panchami is observed on the 5th daj- of the 
dark half of Shnivan, On this day in 
image of a snake is made of cowdung or 
earth, or its picture is drawn on the wall. 

The image is worshipped as a deity, and 
kutera^ a mixture of wheat, oat or rice flour, 
clarified butter, and sugar or molasses is 
offered to it. After worship, the members 
of the ho'ise'iold take their meal and eit 
kulera, cocoanuts and cucumbers. Only one 
meal is taken on this dav by men and 
women. *'^ 



' The School Master of Limbdi. 

3 The School Master of Jasdan. 

3 The School Masters of Dliank and Mfivaiya. 

' Mr. K. D. Desai. 

" The School Master of Khirasara. 
" The School Master of Vanod. 
'^ The School Masters of Uptela and Limbdi. 
15 The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 



- The School Master of Ganod. 
* Th- School Masters of Dhink and Dadvi. 
'' The School Master of Ganod. 
^ The School Master of Dhank. 
"0 The School Master of Dhank. 
" The School Master of Chhatrasa. 
1* The School Master of Zinzuvada. 
"= The Schoolmistress, Barton Female Training 
College. Rajkot. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



139 



The Nag panchmi is observed as a vrat or 
vow, generally by women. They do not 
take any meal on this day, but live only on 
■kulera. On this day, her Higlmess the 
Maharani of Baroda, mounted on an elephant, 
goes in procession to the woods to worship 
an ant-hill. The pipers who accompany the 
procession blow their pipes, and allured by 
the sound, tlie snakes come out of their 
holes, when the}" are worshipped and fed 
with milk.^ 

Women do not pound, grind or sift corn 
on the A'rtgpanc/famj da}-, and all people try 
to see a snake. 

It is obligatory in some families to offer 
a cocoanut to the Nagdev (snake god) on 
the Nag panchami day.- 

In some places, the likeness of the snake 
is engraved on a stone or copper jjlate and 
worshipped. In others, it is drawn on a 
piece of paper which is affixed to tlie wall.* 

In many places there are temples dedi- 
cated to snake gods. These gods are known 
by various names. Some of the temples 
with the names of tlie gods installed in them 
are given below : — 

1. The temple of Sarmftiio Nag at Arani 
Timba near Bikaner. 

2. The temple of Ragatio Nag midway 
between Kanaza and Vanthali in the Junagadh 
State. 

3- The temple of Charmfilio Nag at 
Chokdi near Chuda. Vows of offering sweets 
are made to this Nag by persons bitten by 
snakes, who visit the temple, hold the sweets 
before tl>e image of tlie god, distribute them 
among the visitors, and are in return pre- 
sented witli cotton thread which they wear 
round tlie neck. 

This god is also reputed to have the 
power of blessing childless persons with 
ofi'spring. The offerings concerntd consist 
of cradles, which are presented to the god 
after the wished for object has been fulfilled. 



4. The temple of Vasuki Nag near 
Thangadh. This Nag is supposed to be a 
servant of the god Shiva. An old snake 
with gray moustaches is said to live in this 
temple. He drinks milk at the- hands of 
visitors. Many vows are made in honour of 
this snake god. 

5. The temple of Khambhadio Nag at 
Khambhada. 

6. The temple of Nag Mandal at Dadvi. 

7. The temple of Bliujia Nag at Bhuj. 

8. The temple of Sliimalia Nag near 
Jadeshvar in the neighbourhood of Jetpur. 

9. The temple of Fulia Nfig near Jopa- 
nath. 

10. The temple of Malodaro Nag at 
Malod. 

11. The temple of Charmalio Nag at 
Chudia. 

12. The temple of CJihatrasia Nag in 
Chhatrasa. 

13. Tlie temple of Mouapario Nag at 
Monpar near Chital. 

14. The temple of Ashapal at Nanadiya 
in the Bantva State. 

15. The temple of Khodial Nagini at 
Khokharda in the Junfigadh State. 

16. The temple of Gomdalia Nag at 
Gondal. 

It is related that there were once divine 
snakes in the royal fort of Jodia. When 
a pair (male and female) of tiiese snakes 
were found killed, the heinous act was 
atoned for by the bodies of the snakes being 
buiried and a temple erected over the grave. 
The male snake of this pair is known as Nag 
Nath or the Lord of Snakes. 

According to others. Nag Natii was a big 

I white snake with gray moustaches. He once 
waylaid a milkman of the royal household, 
forced him to put down the milkpot he was 
carrying, drank the milk and went away. 

! This snake is believed to be divine.'' 



The Scliool Master of Khirasara. 
The School Master of Dbank. 



' The School Master of Sanka. 
* The School Master of Jodia. 



140 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



The god Sliiv;» is supposed lo wear a snake ' ocean for the recovery of the fourteen jewels 
round his neck like a garland of Howtrs. So, • from the oei an.*" 

in all teu)})les of Shiva, an iiiiagt- of a snake It is a connnon belief that treasures buried 

is installed beliind the idol of the god with underground are guarded by snakes. 
his liood spread over the idol.^ i Generally a miser dying witiiout an heir 

In ancient times dead snakes were buried is supposed to be born as a snake after his 
and temples and altars were erectid over their death, to guard his hoarded nionev. 
graves. An image of the dead snake was , j^ j^ believed by Some 



engraved on the altar.^ 

Th.re is a shrine dedicated to Chandalia 
Nag on the bank of the river Palavo on the 
road from Mota Devalia to Tramboda. It is 
visittd by a sect of beggars called Nag- 
magas. The Nag-magas beg wealth of the 
snake god, and it is said, that he bestows it 
on them. They are never seen begging from 

any body else.^ 

in the Purruias, the Shesh Nag, the 
Takshak Nag, Pundarik, Kfili Nag and Kar- 
kotak Nag are described as gods. In modern 
times, Sarmalio, Bhujo and Gadhio are believed 
to be as powerful as gods, and vows are ob- 
served in their honour.' 

Dhananjaya, Puslikar and Vasuki are also 
considered to be very powerful." 

Takshak is believed to have drunk the 
nectar of immortality.'^ 

A tradition is current that god Vishnu 
sleeps on the Shesha Nag in the Milky Ocean. 
This snake is believed to have a thousand 
mouths ar.d to support the earth on its hood.T 

Ft is described in lh<- Pinunas how King 
Parikshit was l>itten by Takshak Nag and 
King Nala by Karkotak Nag. King Nala 
became deformed owing lo the bite, but he 
could assume his original form by wearing a 
special dre.'-p, Ihreugh the favour of Karkot^ik. 
Vasuki Nag was wrapped round the j\Ian- 
dar mountain, which was used as a churning 
handle bv the gods and demons to churn the 



' The School Mabter of Ganod. 
3 The School Master of Mola Devalia. 
!^ The School Master of Ganod. 
~ The School Master of Ganod, 
' The School Master of Phank. 
1" The Scliool Master of Kotda Sangani 
1- The School Master of Khirasara. 
'< The School Master of Vanod 



people that on the 
establishment of a new dynasty of kings 

after a re^()lution, a snake makes its a|i- 
pearance to guard the acciuiiulated wealth of 
the fallen dynasty.'-' 

It is also believed tliat a rich man dying 
with his mind fix< d on his wealth is borit ;is 
a snake, to guard the wealth. ^'^ 

There is a further belief tliat one wlnv 
collects money by foul means and does not 
spend it, is born as a snake in his next life to 
guard his buried treasure. ^^ 

There is still another belief tliat a man 
who buriis his treasure in a secret place 
becomes a snake after death, to guard the 
treasure. ^- 

Tlie beliefs mentioned above have given 
rise to the impression that places where big 
snakes are four.d are sure to have treasure 
trove concealed in them.^'' 

It is believed that the snake guarding the 
treasure of his jirevious life dots not allow 
anybody to remove it. and bites any one who 
attempts lo do so.^' 

If in spite of this, a man succi tds in seizing 
the treasure by force or by the power of 
manlras or incantations, it is believed tliat la- 
leaves no heirs to use it.'" 

A belief is also current that such guardian 
snakes allow those persons to take away the 
treasures guarded by them if tluy are des- 
tined to possess them.''' 



"J The School Master of Sonka. 



= The School Master of Jodia. 

i The School Master of Dhank. 

6 The School Master of Vanod. 

8 The School Mistress, Barton Female Training 

College, Rujkot. 
II The School Master of Charadva. 
13 The School Master of Ganod. 
15 The School Master of Songadh. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



141 



To the south of Kolki there is a site of a 
deserted village. It is believed to contain 
a buried treasure which is guarded by a 
snake with white moustaches. This snake is 
seen roaming about the place.^ 

It is related that a Brahman once read in 
ail old paper that there was a treasure 
buried under a Shavii tree in Deola. He 
communicated the information to the Thfikor 
of Dhrol who secured the treasure by 
excavating the place. Tlie Brahman went 
to worship the spot, but was buried alive. 
The Thilkor buried the treasure in his castle, 
but the Brahman, becoming a snake, guarded 
the treasure and allowed none to touch it. All 
attempts to dig it up were frustrated by 
attacks of bees and the appearance of a 
snake. 

A Kshatriya named Dev Karan, while the 
foundation of his house was being dug, 
found a treasure guarded by a snake. He 
killed the snake by pouring boiling oil over 
it and secured llie treasure. 

A Kunbi of Malia, while digging a pit for 
storing corn, found a large vessel filled 
with costly coins guarded by a snake. He 
killed the snake and secured the vessel. - 

There are many practices in vogue to 
render the poisonous bite of a snake ineffec- 
tive. 

If the man bitten by a snake be bold, he 
cuts off the bitten part. 

Some have the bitten part branded. 

Those who have no ulcer in the mouth 
suck the poison, and spit it out. 

The powder of the fruit of the Nol Vel 
is also administered with watet. 

Sometimes emetics and purgative medi- 
cines are given. 

A mixture of pepper and clarified butter 
is also believed to be efficacious. ^ 

> The School Master of Kolki. 
3 The School Master of Dbank. 
5 The School Mistress, Barton Female Training 
College, Rajkot. 



Other remedies for the cure of snake bite,, 
are as follows : — 

The patient is made to wear a cotton 
thread in tlie name of Charmalia Nag,, 
Sharmalia Nag, or Vasangi Nag, and cer- 
tain observances, as stated above, are promised 
to the snake deity.* 

The ends of peacock feathers are poimded 
and smoked in a chiltim (clay pipe) by the 
patient.^ 

A moharo (stone found in the head of a 
snake supposed to be a cure for snake poison) 
is applied to the wound caused by the bite. 
It absorbs the poison, and on being dipped 
into milk, transfers the poison to the milk. 

Thus it can be used any number of times. •"' 

There is a Girasia in Lakhtar who is 
believed to cure patients suffering from snake 
poison. As soon as a person is bitten by a 
snake, one of the garments worn by him is 
taken to the Girasia, who ties it into a knot 
and this cures the patient." 

There is a Bava in Rajpara, a village near 
Anandpur. He and all the members of his 
familj' are reputed to be able to cure snake- 
bites. When a person is bitten by a snake, 
he or a friend goes to the B(iv(i's house and 
informs him or any member of his family 
of the occurrence. The Bava or the person 
who receives the intimation folds into a 
knot a garment of the informant, -which he 
afterwards unfolds. As soon as this is done, 
the patient is in great pain, loses his 
senses, is seized with convulsions and tells 
why the snake bit him. Thereupon the 
relatives of the patient implore the pardon 
of the snake, which is granted on condition 
that the patient should give alms to the 
poor.^ 



' The School Master of Anandpur. 



2 The School Master of Todia. 

4 The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

6 The D. E. Inspector, Halar. 

f The School Master of Lilapur. 



142 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



In some places, Bliagals or devotees 
of Mata.ji are invited to dinner along with 
a number of exorcists, wlio are generally 
Rabaris. After they have assembled at the 
house of the patient, they start out in a 
procession Iicaded by one wlio holds in his 
hand a bunch of peacock fcatliers, to bathe 
in a river. On their way to and back from 
the river tliey sing songs in praise of the 
goddess to the accompaniment of drums and 
other musical instruiucnts. After their re- 
turn from the river, the wliole party are 
treated to a feast, which is supposed to cure 
the patient of the effects of the snake-bite.^ 

Some people believe that snakes, like evil 
spirits, can enter the bodies of human 
beings. Such persons, when possessed, are 
-supposed to have the power of curing snake- 
bites.^ 

Every village has an exorcist who is a 
specialist in curing the effects of snake- 
bites. When a person is bitten by a snake 
the exorcist is at once sent for. He gives 
the patient Nim leaves and pepper to chew, 
to determine the extent of the effect of the 
bite. Next he asks one of those present to 
bathe and bring water in an unused earthen 
jar. He then recites incantations, and 
sprinkles water from the jar over the body 
■of the patient. If this does not counteract 
the effects of the poison, he throws red-hot 
pieces of charcoal at the patient, when the 
snake speaks through the patient and states 
that he bit the patient because he committed 
a. certain offence, and that he will leave him 
if certain offerings are made. After he has 
ceased speaking, the patient begins to shake 
and to crawl about like a snake, and is 
then cured. If the man be doomed to 
death, the snake would say, " I have bitten 
him by the order of the god of death, and 
I will not leave him without taking his 
life."3 



Sometimes tlie exorcist fans tlie j)atient 
with branches of the Nim tree, reciting 
7nantras^ and thereupon the jjaticnt becomes 
possessed by the snake and declares the 
cause of his offence. 

Some exorcists present a magic epistle or 
charm asking the snake that bit the patient 
to be present. The snake obeys the call, 
and appears before the exorcist. The latter 
then asks the snake to suck the poison from 
the wound of the patient, which is done by 
the snake, and the patient is tlien cured.* 

In some places, the exorcist ties up the 
patient when the snake tells the cause of the 
bite. Next the exorcist calls on the snake 
to leave the body of the patient, who then 
begins to crawl about like a snake and is 
cured. 

On some occasions, the exorcist slaps the 
cheek of the person who calls him to attend 
the patient. It is said that the poison dis- 
appears as soon as the slap is given.'' 

Some exorcists take a stick liaving seven 
joints and break them one hy one. iVs the 
stick is broken, the patient recovers, his 
recovery being complete when the seventh 
joint is broken." 

It is believed that the Dliedas are the 
oldest worshippers of Ndgs or snakes. When 
a person is bitten by a snake, he is seated 
near a Dheda, who prays tlie snake to leave 
the body of the patient. It is said that in 
some cases this method proves efficacious in 
curing the patient.^ 

It is stated that exorcists who know the 
mantra (incantation) for the cure of snake- 
bites must lead a strictly moral life. If they 
touch a woman in child-bed or during her 
period the mantra loses its power. This can 
be regained through purification; bathing, and 
by reciting tJie mantra while inhaling the 
smoke of burning frankincense. Some 



1 The School Master of Dhank. 
3 The School Master of Dbank. 
5 The D. E. Inspector, Ha'iir. 



' The School Master of Sanka. 



" The School Master of Dadvi. 
^ The Schaol Master of Chhatrasa. 
6 The School Master of Songadh. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



143 



exorcists abstain from certain kinds of 
vegetables and sweets, e. g., the Mogri (Rat- 
tailed raddish) Julebi (a kind of sweet) etc. 
They have also to abstain from articles of a 
colour like that of a snake. ^ 

A belief prevails that there is a precious 
stone in tlie head of the snake. Such stones are 
called mohors. The_v are occasionally shown 
to the people by snake-charmers, who declare 
that it is very difficult to procure them. 

It i^ stated that on dark nights snakes 
take these mohors out of their head and 
place them on prominent spots in order to be 
able lo move about in the dark by their 
light.- 

It is believed that snakes give these mohors 
to those who please them. If one tries to 
take a mohor by force, the snake swallows 
it and dissolves it into water.^ 

As stated above, the mohor has the pro- 
perty of absorbing the poison from snake- 
bites. 

It is because a snake is believed to hold a 
precious stone in its head tliat it is called 
tnnniclhar^ that is, holder of a jewel. ^ 

It is believed by some people that the 
mohor shines the u'.ost when a rainbow 
appears in the sky.* 

According to the Purdnas the patdl or 
nether world is as beautiful as heaven. It 



is inhabited by Nags or snakes in human 
form. The 2Vag girls are reputed to be so 
handsome that an extraordinarily beautiful, 
girl is commonly likened to a Nag girl. 

It is believed that in ancient times inter- 
marriages between Xiigs and human beings 
were common.*^ 

It is a common belief that Kshetrapal, the 
guardian snake of fields, married human 
brides. So. to jjropitiate him, his image is 
installed on the marriage altar, and the 
bride takes three turns round it when walking 
round the sacrificial fire with the bride- 
groom.^ 

According to the Piiranas^ king Dasharath 
married a Nag girl Sumitra.* Similarly 
Indrajit, the son of Rilvan, the Lord of 
Lanka or Ceylon, married a Nag girl.'' 

At times snakes are seen in houses. They 
are believed to be the guardians of the 
houses, and worshipped with offerings of 
lamps fed with ghi. After worship, the 
members of the family pray to the snake, 
'' Oh snake ! Thou art our guardian. Pro- 
tect our health and wealth. AVe are thy 
children and live in thy garden."^" 

Some people believe that the spirits of 
deceased ancestors, on account of the anxiety 
for the welfare of progeny, become snakes 
and guard the house.i'^ 



' The School Mistress, Barton Femals Training 

College, Rajkot 
» Mr. K. D. Desai. 
''■ The School Master of Vanod. 
*■ The School Mistress, Civil Station Girls' School, 

Rajkot. 
u The School Master of Sayala. 



2 The School Master of Dhank. 

3 The School Master of Chhatrasa. 
5 The School Master of Kolki. 

r The School Master of Kolki. 
' The School Master of Zinzuvada. 
w The School Master of Vanod, and Mr. K. D. 
Desai. 



CHAPTER VI] I. 



TOTEMISM AND FEThSHISM. 



Tl)c worsliip of totems is not known to 
prevail in Gujarat, but tlie names of persons 
and clans or families are occasionally derived 
from animals and plants. 

Instances of names derived from animals 
are given below : — 



NAME. 



ANIMAL FROM 
WHICH DKIUVED. 



1. 


Hfitliiblmi 


llaihi — an elephant. 


2. 


Vughajibluii ... 


Vdgh — a tiger. 


3. 


Nagjibhfii 


Nag — a snake. 


4. 


Popatbhai 


Popat — a parrot. 


5. 


^lorbliai 


Mor — a peacock. 


6. 


Cliaklibiiat 


Chakli — a sparrow.^ 


7. 


Kido 


K'idi — an ant. 


8. 


Mankodia 


Mankoda — a black ant 


9. 


Tido 


Tld—.\ locust. - 


10. 


Hansraj 


Hansa — a goo-e. 


11. 


^'incIli*... 


I'inchi — a female scor- 
pion. 


12. 


01.. 


Olo — a species of 
bird. 


13. 


A. jo 


■ijii — a goat. 


14. 


Mcna- 


Meita — a species of 
bird.3 



The Kali Paraj or aboriginal tribes in 
GujarJit give such names as Kagdo (crow), 
Kolo (Jackal), Bilado (cat), Kutro (dog) to 
their clnldren .iccordiiig as one or otlier of 
these animals is heard to cry at the time 
of birth.'' 



TJie following are instances of names 
derived from plants : — 



NAME. 



PL. A XT OH TREE 

FROM WHICH 

DERIVED. 



1. Gulabt... 

2. Ambo ... 

3. Tulsibfii* 

4. Tulsidas 

5. Kesharbfii* 

6. GalalbSi* 

7. Bili* ... 

8. Dudhi*... 

9. Lavengi* 

10. Mulo ... 

11. Limbdo 

12. Mako ... 

1 3. Champo 



Gulab — the rose. 

Ambo — the mango. 
Tiilsi — the sweet basil 

Ditto. 
Keshar — Saffron. 
Galal — Red powder.^ 
Bill — Acgle marmelos 
Dudhi — Pumpkin. 
Laveng — Clove. 
3/!//o— R.iddisli. 
Limbdo — Tlie Xim 

tree. 
Maki — Maize. '^ 
Champa — M i c heli a 
Champaca.'' 



Instances of family or clan names derived 
from trees and animals arc as follows : — 



NAME. 


DERIVATION. 


1. 


Untia 


Unt—c:xmel. 


2. 


Gadiieda 


Gadheda — An ass. 


3. 


Dedaki.i ... 


Dedako — A froff. 


4. 


Balada 


Balad — An os. 


5. 


Godhani ... 


Gudho — A bull. 


6. 


Bhensdadia 


Bhensa — A buffalo. 


7. 


Ghetiya 


Gheta — A siieep. 


8. 


Savaj 


A species of wild 
animals.® 


9. 


Kakadia 


Kakadi — cucumber.^ 





' Tlie School Master of Dhilnk. 
•' The School Master of Kolki. 
* The School Master of Halar. 
'' The School Master of Dadvi. 
f Both male and female. 



- The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

* These are female names. 
6 The School Master of Dhunk. 
' The School Master of Kolki. 
^ The School Master of DhSnk. 



- The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



145 



Tlie cow, the she-goat, tlie horse, the deer, 
peacock, the T'dad or singing sparrow, the 
goose, the JVrtg or snake, the eagle, tlie 
elephant and the male monkey are believed 
to be sacred by all Hindus. Of these, the 
greatest sanctitj' attaches to the cow. Her 
urine is sipjjed for the atonement of sins. 
The cow is also revered by the Parsis.^ 

The mouth of the she-goat and tlie smell 
of the horse are considered sacred.^ 

An elephant is considered sacred, because 
when the head of Ganpati was chopped oif by 
Shiva, the head of an elephant was joined 
to his trunk.2 

The peicock is considered sacred on ac- 
count of its being the conveyance of Saras vati, 
the goddess of learning. - 

A male monkey is held holy, because it is 
supposed to represent tlie monkey god 
Mriruti.2 

Some sanctity attaches to the rat also, as it 
is the conveyance of the god Ganpati. He 
is called Mama or maternal uncle by the 
Hindus.^ 

The pig is held taboo by the Musalmans.^ 

Brfilimans, Banias, Bhatias, Kunbis, Sutiirj 
and Darjis abstain from flesh and liquor.^ 

Some Brahmaiis and Banias do not eat 
tddids (fruit of the palm tree) as they look 
like human eyes.*' 

Some Briihmans abstain from garlic and 
onions. Some do not eat Xorfra '( jjunctured 
millet). 7 

The masur ( Lentil ) pulse is not eaten by 
Brahmans and Banias, because, wlien cooked, 
it looks red like blood. ^ 

The Humbad Banias do not eat whey, milk, 
curdled milk and c'arified butter." 



1 The School Master of Dhank. 
3 The School Master of Mota Devalia. 
5 The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
' The School Master of Ziazuvada. 
' The School Master of Pritanvav. 



Tlie Shriivaks abstain from the suran 
( Elephant foot ), potatoes and roots that 
grow underground.^* 

Mahomedans abstain from the siiran^ 
because " su '' the first letter of the word suran 
is also the first letter of their taboo'd animal 
the pig.^^ 

There are some deities associated with the 
worship of animals. These animals, with the 
deities with whom they are connected, are 
given below. 

1. Pothio or the bull is believed to be the 
vehicle of god Shiva. In all temples of 
Shiva its image is installed, facing the image 
of Shiva in the centre of the tenijjle. 

2. jSinha or the lion is believed to be the 
vehicle of Parvati, the consort of Shiva. The 
lion is also connected with the demon ))lanet 
Rahu. 

3. Hansa the goose is associated with 
Brahma the creator. 

4. Gadhedo the ass is believed to be con- 
nected with Shifiala, the goddess of small pox 

5. Uiidar the mouse is the conveyance of 
Ganpati. 

6. Mor the peacock is the conveyance of 
Sarasvati, the goddess of learning. The 
peacock is also associated with Kartik Swami. 

7. Garud the eagle is the conveyance of 
the god Vishnu. 

8. Pddo the male buffalo is the conveyance 
of Devis or goddesses. 

9. Glwdo the horse is the conveyance of 
the Sun. The horse is also associated with 
the planet Guru or Jupiter and Shukra or 
Venus. 

10. Mrig the deer is supposed to be the 
conveyance of the Moon as well as of Mangal 
or Mars. 



' The School Master of Todia. 
* The School Master of Kotda Sangani 
6 The School Master of Vanod. 
' The School Master of Songadh. 
1" The School Master of Vala. 



" The School Master of Songadh. 



146 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



1 1 . Balad the ox is connected with Mars 
and 'Shani or Saturn. 

12. Iliilhi tile clepliant is sup))Osed to be 
till- couvtv.incc of Indr.i. It is also connected 
■\vitli Budha or Mercury. 

13 Tlic tiger is the conveyance of the 
goddess Amba j I . 

The animals mentioned above are wor- 
shipped along with deities and planets with 
whom they are associated^. 

It is generally believed that tile earth 
is supported by a tortoise. So, whenever tlie 
goddess earth or Prithvi is worslujiiied, ilie 
tortoise is also worshipped.^ 

In the temples of the Matas cocks and hens, 
and in the temple of Kfil Bhairav, dogs, are 
■worshipped." 

For the propitiation of goddesses and evil 
spirits, male goits, he-buffaloes and cocks are 
sacrificed.* 

In his first incarnation, the god Vishnu 
was born as a fish, in the second as an alliga- 
tor, and in the third as a boar. For this 
reason the images of these animals are 
worshipped.'' 

All the gods, goddesses and spirits mentioned 
in the preceding pages are represented by 
idols made of stone, metal or wood. In 
addition to stone idols of gods there are 
certain stones which are considered to reore- 
sent gods and worshipped as such. Some of 
•these stones are described below. 

All the stones found in the river Narbada 
are believed to represent the god Shiva and 
worshipped. 

There is a kind of stone found in the 
river Gandaki which is smooth on one side 
and porous on the other. It is either round 
or square and about five inches in length. 
This stone is called i'lhaliardm and is believed 



1 The School Master of Dbank. 
3 The School Master of Vanod. 
5 The School Master of Bfintva. 
' The School Master of Devalia. 
S The School Master of Jetpur. 



to represent the god Vishnu. It is kept in the 
household gods and worshipped daily. 

There is another kind of hard, white, porous 
stone found near Dwark.i. It is also wor- 
shipped along witli liie idol of Vishnu. 

Sometimes tridents are drawn with red lead 
on stones to represent goddesses." 

There is a tank mar the Pir in Kutiana in 
which bored stones arc found floating on the 
surface of the water. These stones are con- 
sidered sacred.'' 

Certain stones are considered sacred on 
account of their supposed curative properties. 
One of such sloncs is called Pciro. It is 
believed to be efficacious in curing rheuma- 
tism.8 

There is also a kind of red stone wliicli is 
supposed to cure skin diseases.^ 

Each of the nine planets is supposed to be 
in touch with a stone of a ))articular colour. 
For instance, the stone in touch with Shaiii or 
Saturn is black, and that with Maiigal or 
Mars is red. Tiiesc stones are bored, and set 
in rings which arc worn by [XTsons suffering 
from the influence of these planets. 

A kind of stone called Akik^ found in 
abimdaiice in Cambay, is considered sacred by 
the Mahomedan saints, who wear garlands 
made of beads carved out of these stonen.i" 

In ancient times human sacrifices were 
offered on certain occasions. Now-a-daj^s, in 
place of a human being, a cocomut or a Kolu 
( Cucurbita maxima ) is offered. At the time 
of making the offering, the cocoanut is 
plastered with red lead and other holy appli- 
cations and covered with a silk cloth. The 
Kolu is offered by cutting it into two pieces 
with a stroke of a knife or sword. ^^ 



2 The School Master of Vanod. 
4 The School Master of Dadvi. 
c The School Master of Ganod. 
8 The School Master of Chhatrfisa. 
'" The School Master of Zinzuvfida. 



" The School Master of Kotda Sangani, Zinzuvada and Gohelwad. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



147 



Somelirues an image of the flour of Adad 
is sacrificed in place of a luiman being/ 

Tliis sacrifice is generally made on the 
eighth or tenth day of the brigiit half of 
Ashvin^ 

In place of human blood, milk mixed wilh 
giilid ( red powder ) and molasses is 
offered. - 

In ancient times, when a well was duu- a 
human sacrifice was made to it if it did not 
yield water, with the belief that this would 
bring water into the well. Now-a-days, in- 
stead of this sacrifice, blood from the fouith 
finger of a man is sprinkled over the spot.-' 

It is also related that in ancient times, when 
a king was crowned, a human sacrifice was 
offered. Now-a-days, instead of this sacrifice, 
the king's forehead is marked with the blood 
from the fourth finger of a low caste Hindu 
at the time of the coronation ceremony.^ 

There are a few stones which are supposed 
to have the power of curing certain diseases. 
One of such stones is known as Ratvano 
Pdro, It is found at a distance of about two 
miles from Kolki. It is marked with red 
lines. It is bored and iv;orn round the neck 
by persons suffering from rafatva^' ( a disease 
in whicli red spots or pimples are seen on the 
skin ). 

There is another stone called Suleimani 
Pdro which is supposed to have the power of 
curing many diseases.'' 

There is a kind of white semi-circular stone 
which is supposed to cure eye diseases when 
rubbed on the eyes and fever when rubbed 
on the body.' 

Sieves for flour and corn, brooms, samhelus 
or corn pounders, and ploughs are regarded 
as sacred. 



' The School Master of H-ilfir. 

3 The School Master of Devalia. 

5 The School Master of Kolki. 

' The School Master of Jetpur. 

S The School Master of Dadvi. 
11 The School Master of Todia. 
13 The School ^ta3ter of Dhank. 



Sieves are considered sacred for the follow- 
ing reasons. 

1. Because articles of food such as Hour, 
grain, etc., are sifted through them."^ 

2. Because, on auspicious occasions, when 
women go to worship the potter's wlieel, the 
materials of worship are carried in a sieve. 

3. Because the fire used for igniting the 
sacrificial fuel is taken in a sieve, or is 
covered with a sieve while it is beintj carried 
to the sacrificial altar.'-' 

4. Because at the time of performing the 
ceremonj- when commencing to prepare sweets 
for a marriage, a sieve is worshijiped.i" 

5. Because, in some conmiunitits like the 
Bhcitias, the bride's mother, when receiving 
the bridegroom in the marriage booth, carries 
in a dish a lamp covered with a sieve. i^i 

The flour collected by Brahmans bj- begging 
from door to door is supposed to be polluted. 
But it is considered purified when it is )5assed 
through a sieve. ^- 

The sambeln is considered so sacred that 
it is not touched with the foot. If a woman 
lie down during day time, she will not touch 
it either with her head or with her foot. 

One of the reasons why it is considered 
sacred is that it was used as a weapon by 
Baldev, the brother of the god Krishna. 

A sambelu is one of the articles, required 
for performing the reception ceremony on a 
bridegroom's entering the marriage pandal.^'^ 

It is believed that a fall of rain is expedited 
by placing a sambelu erect in a dish when 
there is a drought.^* 

Among Sln-igaud Brahmans, on the marriage 
day, one of the men of the bridegroom's party 
wears a wreath made of a sambelu^ a. broom 
and other articles. Some special marks are 
also made on his forehead. Thus adorned he 



2 The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
■1 The School Master of Todia 
6 The School Master of Dhank. 
8 The School Master of Dhank. 

10 The School Master of Aman. 
1- The School Master of LilSpur. 

11 The School Master of Zinzuvada. 



148 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



goes witli till- bridi'grnoin's procissioii ami I n soiiK' places, on the i?aZey day, a number 

])lays jokis Willi tin p.-imils oC I)i)tli tlu' bride ol' persons gatlier togetin r iirar a ))ond. and 

and bridi{;r(ii)iii. His doing so is supposed to eaeli of tlieni fills an earthen jar with the 

bless the bridal pair with a long life and a water of the ])ond. Next, one of the party 

large family.^ is made to stand at a long distance from the 

On the niarriaj;-!- day, after thi' eeremony others with a small plough in his liands. The 

of propitiating the nine planets has been others then run a race towards the latter, 
performed in the bride's house, in some castes 1 He who wins the race is presented with 

three, and in others one samhelu^ is ke])t near molasses and a eoeoanut.'' 



the spot where the j)l mels are worshipped. 
Next, five unwidowed women of the family 
hold the samhehtu and thrash them five or 
seven times on the Hoor r( piatinj;- the words 
" On the chest of the ill-wisher of the host.'' 
Tlie sambelus are bound together by a 
thread.2 

If a woman has to take pari in an auspicious 
ceremony on the fowrth day of her monthlv 
period, she is made to thresh one inaund of rier 
with a samhclii. Her fourtli day is then 
considered as the fifth* and she becomes 
eligible for taking part in the ceremony.-* 

The plough is considered sacred, because it 
is the chief iu'.pliiiunt for euillivatinji- the soil. 
It is W()rslii]ii)ed cm the full-moon day of 
Shmfuii which is known as a Balcv holiday, 
the worship being called Grdlian-pujan.' 

Some people consider the plough sacred 
because Sita, the consort of Rare, was born of 
the earth by tiie touch of a i)lough.° Others 
iliold it sacred as it was used as a weapini by 
Baldcv, the brother of the god Krishna. 

On account of the sanctity which attaches 
to the plough, it forms ]iart of the articles, 
with wliieh .-i bridegroom is rec( ived in the- 
marriage pandal by the bride's mother.'' 

It is related that king Janak ))louglied tlie 
soil on which he had to perform a sacrifice. 
Hence it has become a practice to purify with 
a ])l()i:gh t!ie spot on which a sacrifice is to be 
performed.^ 



It is customary among Hrfdnnans to per- 
form the worship known as Baleviun after 
the performance of a thread ceremony. In 
Native States, the prime minister and other 
State officials and clerks join the ceremony, 
the principal function of the ceremony being 
performed by the prime minister. In 
villages, this function is performed by the 
headman of the village. The party go in 
procession lo a neiiihbouring village or a 
pond where an earthen image of Ganpati 
besmeared with red lead is installed on a red 
cloth two feet square. Near this image are 
installed the nine planets, represented by 
nine heaps of corn, on each of which is placed a 
betelnut. This is called the installation of 
Balevidn, A plough about two feet in length 
is kept standing near the Balev'uln with its 
end buried in the ground. The prime minis- 
ter or the village headman worships the 
plough, after which, four Kumbhars or 
plotters wash themselves, and holding four 
jars on their heads, run a race. Each of the 
Kumbhars is named after one of the four 
months of the rainy season. He who wins 
the race is jiresented with the plough. The 
expenses of the ceremony are paid from the 
State treasury or the village fund.'' 

According to a popular saying, a broom 
should not be kept trect or trampled under 
foot. This indicates that brooms are held 
saered. 



I 



1 Tlie School Master of Zinzi^vada. - The School Master of Todia. 

I The School Master of Lilapur. J The School Masters of Dhank and Kotda Sangaai. 

5 The School Master of Ganod. '• The School Master of Dadvi. 

' The School Master of Lilapur. ' The School Master of Zinzuvada. 

5 The Sshool Master of Todia. 
* Among Hindus women in menses are considered impure for (our days. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



149 



When a newly-born infant dots not cry, 
the leaves of a broom are tlirown into the 
fire and their smoke is passed over tl»e child. 
It is said that this makes the child cry.^ 

Some people consider brooms sacred 
because they are used in sweeping the ground^ 
( that is the earth, which is a goddess ). 

In some places, children suffering from 
cougli are fanned with a broom. ^ 

In some castes, a broom is worshipped on 
the marriage day.^ 

Many people deny any sanctity to a broom. 
A belief is common that if a man sees a 
broom the first thing after g-etting up in tlie 
morning, he does not pass the day happily.'' 

Some believe that if a broom be kept erect 
in the house, a quarrel between the husband 
and wife is suire to follow. There is also a 
belief that if a person thrashes another witli a 
broom, the former is liable to suffer from a 
gland under the arm.'' 

Fire is considered to be a deity by all 
Hindus. In all sacrifices, fire is first ignited 
with certain ceremonies of worship." In all 
Brahman families, every morning before 
breakfast, a ceremony- called J'aishvadeva is 
performed, in which fire is worshipped and 
cooked rice is offered to it/ 

The Agnihotrisktci) a constant fire burning 
in their houses and worship it thrice a day, 
morning, noon and evening**. 



The Parsis consider fire so sacred that they do 
not smoke. Neither do they cross fire. In their 
temples called Agidris a fire of sandal wood 
is kept constantly burning. It is considered a 
great mishap if this fire is extinguished.^ 

Fire is specially worshipped on the Holi day, 
that is the full-moon day of the month of 
Falgun.^ 

Other special occasions on which it is wor- 
shipped are the thread ceremony, the ceremony 
of installing a new idol in a temple, the first 
pregnancy ceremony, and the ceremony perfor- 
med at the time of entering a new house. ^" 

Fire is also worshipped in Maharudra, 
Vishnuydg^ Gayairipurascharan, Nllotsarga, 
f'astiipujaiij Shatachandi^ Lukshachandi, and 
the sacrifices performed during the Navaidtra 
and on the Dasara day.i^ 

Fire is considered to be the mouth of God 
tlirough wliich he is supposed to receive all 
offerings.^- 

The offerings made to fire generally consist 
of clarified butter, cocoanuts, sesamum seed the 
/nt'«, chips of the wood of the Pipal and the 
Shami, curdled milk and frankincense.'^ 

The fire to be used for sacrifices and 
agnihotras is produced by the friction of two 
pieces of the wood of the Arani^ n the Pipal^ 
the Shami i" or the bamboo while mantras or 
incantations are being recited by Brahmans.*" 



1 The School Master of Dhank. 

3 The School Master of Songadh. 

3 The School Master of Todia. 

^ The School Masters of Dhank and Vanod. 

3 The School Masters of Ganod and Dhank. 



2 The School Master of Kolki. 

* The School Master of Limbdi. 

•> The School Master of Dhank. 

* The School Master of Kalavad and Mr. K. D. Desai 

i» The School Master of Dadvi. 



1' The School Masters of Ganod and Kalavad and Mr. K. D. Desai. 
i: The School Master of Todia. '■'' The School Master of Wala. 

1' The School Masters of Dadvi and Dhank. '5 xhe School Master of Jetpur. 

"'' The School Master of Aman. 



CHAPTER IX. 



ANIMAL WORSHIi 

The foUowiiit!: aiiim.ils an (.onsidtrcd sacred 



and worsliippid bj- tlic Hindus. 

1. The cow : — is regarded as the holiest of 
animals. She is worsliipped on the fourtli 
day of the dark half of Shravan which is 
known as Bol Choth* ^n\d a vow is observed 
by women in hi r honour on tiu' fifteenth da_v 
of Bhddarva. It is ivuown as Gautrad J'rat. 
On tliis diy women do nut eat wheat, milk, 
clarified butter and the whey of a cow.^ 

The sanctity which attaches to the i 

due to the belief that in lier body reside 
thirty three crores of gods.- 

2- The horse : — The horse is believed by 
some people to be the last incarnation of God. 
It is also believed to represent Vachliado, the 
deity wlio cures hj'drophobia.'' 

Some people believe the horse to be a 
celestial animal. It i.s said that in ancient 
times it had wings, traces of which are 
believed to be still visible in its knees. 

Of the fourteen jewels obtained by the 
gods and demons by churning the ocean, one 
was a horse Mith seven mouths. Hence the 
liorse is considered di\ine.^ 

Tile horse is worsiiipped on the Dasuni d.ay.^ 

3. The elephant : — The ele|)hant is consi- 
dered divine because it is tile vehicle of 
Indra, tlie lord of gods, .iiid hec.iuse its iiead 
was fixed on tile trunk of Ganpati, tile son of 
Parvati and Shiva. It is believtd by some 
people that vows to offer cocoanuts to an 
elepiiint are efficatious in curing fever.'' 



At tile time of celebrating a coronation 
ceremony an elephant is worshipped. There 
is a tradition that in ancient times the corona- 
tion waters were poured over the king by a 
she-elephant." 

4. The lion : — The lion is considered 
sacred because it is believed to be the lord of 
the beasts of the forest and the vehicle of 
goddesses.* 

5. The tiger : — The tiger is worsiiipped 
with Vagheshvari Mata as it is believed to be 
her vehicle. 

6- The she-buffalo : — Some sanctity attaches 
to the she-buffalo, as it is believed that a 
she- buffalo was given in dowry to a Nag 
kanya (snake girl) by her father.** 

To atone for a great sin a shc-b«ffalo 
decked with a black wreath, iron, red lead 
and marks made with the flour of adad is 
presented to a Brahman. ^ 

7. The donkey : — Is believed to be the 
vehicle of the goddess of small-pox. i" 

It is also believed that the god Brahn:a h.rl 
formerly five mouths, one of wliich was like 
that of a donkey. ^^ 

8. The dog : — The dog is believed to 
have divine vision and to be able to see the 
messengers of the god of death. Some 
believe that in its next life a dog becomes a 
man.^- 

The dog is also believed to be tlie vehicle of 
Kal lihairav and is worshijiped along with his 
image. ^'' 

Some people offer bread to dogs in tlie 
belief tiiat they will bear witness to their 
merits before God^*. 



I The School Master of Dhank. 
' The School Master of Devalia. 
'' The School Master of Ganod. 

" The School Master of Todia. 

° The School Master of Moti Marad. 

II The Scho .1 Master of Moti Parabdi. 
1' The School Master of ,\min. 

' See pp. 48-49. 



- The School M »?ter of Kotda Sangani. 

* The Deputy Educational Inspector, Gohelwad. 

li The School Master of Chhatrasa. 

s The School Master of Chhatrasa. 

i» The School Master of Chhatrasa. 

12 The School Master of Chhatrasa. 

11 The.School Master of Limbdi. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



151 



9. The goat; — is worshipped by the Bhar- 
vads when they worship the goddess Machhu.^ 

10- The cat: — is worshipped in the belief 
that by so doing a man can win over his 
opponents.- 

11. The bear: — is considered by some 
people to be a holy animal because the god 
Krishna married Jambuvanti, the daughter 
of Jambuvant, the heroic bear who assisted 
Rama." 

12. Fish: — are considered sacred because 
they are supposed to carry the food {pindas) 
to the manes offered (in water) at the shraddha 
ceremony.^ 

13. Alligators; — are worshipped in a pond 
at Magar Pir, near Karachi." 

14. The crows; — arc worshipped because 
they are supposed to represent rishis^ 

Some people believe that crows were for- 
merly rishis. They are supposed to have 
divine vision, and food offered to them is 
believed to reach deceased ancestors. 

A loaf is cut into three parts. One of them 
is designated l^nl (ordiniry), the second f/«/iaZ 



(famine), and the third sukal (plenty). Next 
they are offered to a crow. If the crow takes 
away the fcdl^ it is believed that the crops in 
the following year will be normal ; if it takes 
away the dukal a famine is apprehended in 
the following year, and if the sukal, it is 
believed that the crops will be plentiful.' 

15. The goose; — is supposed to be the 
vehicle of the goddess Sarasvati. It is belie- 
ved that its worship ensures success in any 
enterpris' . If a goose is seen in a dream, it 
is considered to be a very good omen.'' 

A goose is believed to be endowed with the 
power of separating milk from water. It is 
supposed to feed on rubies. It is found in 
lake Miin in the Himalayas.'' 

16. The cock: — is considered holy as it is 
believed to be the vehicle of the goddess 
Bahucharaji.^" 

17. The hen ; — is worshipped on the last 
Sunday of the month of Jeth."^^ 

1 8. The parrot : — is worshipped by singers 
desiring to improve their vcice. It is also 
worshipped by dull persons d-sirous of imp- 
roving their intellect. ^- 



' The School Master of Aman. 

' The Deputy Educational Inspector of Gohelwad. 

* The School Master of Chbatrasa. 

^ The School Master of Kolki. 

' The School Master of Todia.^ 

'" The School Master of Luvaria. 



- The School Master of Todia. 

5 The School Master of Dadvi. 
■ The School Master of Todia, 
9 The School Mister of Chhatras?, 
11 The School Master of Aman. 



12 The School Master of Todia, 



CHAPTER X^: 



WITCHCRAFT. 



Dtlkans arc of two kinds, liuman and of 
the order of ghosts.'' 

Girls born in the /Is'i^M^'fl nalcshalra on thn 
hi} or second daj' of a month, in the Kritika 
nalshalra on tile s( vcnth day of a niontl) and in 
ihc 'Slid I ah hi gha nakshatra on the twelfth day 
of a month, are believed to be human dakans, ' 
They cause the deatli of their husbands, and 
their evil ej*; injures all things and indivi- 
duals that come under its influence. - 

Women who dit- in child-bed, meet an unti- 
mely death or commit suicide, become Dakans 
or Chudels after death. - 

Some people believe that women of such low 
castes as Kolis, Vaghris and Cliarans become 
Dakans. High castr Dakans are rare.^ 

A ghostly Dakan dresses in fine clothes 
and decks her person witli ornaments. But 
she does not cover her back, which is horrible 
to look at. It is so frightful that any one 
liappening to see it dies of horror.'' 

Ghostly Dakans trouble only women, When 
possessed by ttem, the latter have convulsive 



fits, loose their hair, and cry out without any 
reason.'' 

A ghostlj- Dakan lives with a man as his 
wife, brings him dainties and turns the refuse 
of food into flesh and bones. The man 
gradually becomes emaciated and ultimately 
dies.'' * 

J t is believed that generally a Dakan kills 
a man within six montlis.^ 

The Dakans do not allow calves to suck, 
cattle to give milk, and healthy persons to enjoy 
sound health. Sometimes they cause cattle to 
yield blood instead of milk.s 

A Dakan by virtue of her powers, can .ascend 
to the sky. She lives upon the flesh of 
corpses.^ 

A Dakan can assume any form she likes. 
She appears as a cat, a buffalo, a goat or any 
other animal. She can swell and shrink her 
body at will. Her feet are reversed.^" 

Dakans haunt- trees ^ cemeteries, deserted 
tanks, mines or other desolate places.^' 

They also haunt ruins and places where four 
roads meet.^" 



1 The School Master of Dhank. 
3 The School Master of Gondal. 
5 Mr. K. D. Desai. 
7 The School Master of Dadvi. 
5 The School Master o£ Ganod. 
=' The School Master of Dhank. 



- The School Master of Ganod, 
* The School Master of Sultanpur. 
c The School Master of Vanod, 

s The School Master of Moti Khilori. 

'» Mr. K. D. Desai. 

'= The School Master of Ganod. 



CHAPTER XI. 



Various ceremonies are perforinsd by 
cultivators at tlie time of ploiigliiiig the soil, 
sowing, reaping and harvesting. These cere- 
monies ditt'er in details in different localities. 

In all places, an auspicious day for ploughing 
and sowing is iixed in consultation witli an 
astrologer. On the day when ploughing is to 
be commenced, frhe front court yard of the house 
is cowdunged and .in ausi)icious figure called 
■SatJiia'-- is drawn on it with the grains of 

Adisli called kiiiisdr is pr( p.irid, .ind served to 
all members of the f.uuily it the morning meal. 
Their foreheads are marktd with red powder, 
and a pice and betelnut are offered to the 
household go:ls. Hand-spun cotton tlireads 
marked at intervals with red powder are then 
tied round the plough and to the horns of the 
bullocks wliieli are to be yoked to the plough. - 

Next, tlie farmer stands w.-iiting at tlie front 
door of his house for goad omeus_-' and when 
a few are seen, sets out for his field. 

In some places, the foreheads of the i)ulloeks 
are daubed with red lead, clarified butter is 
applied to their Iiorns, and they are fed wit^ 
molasses.* 

In others, a betelnut is ))laeed over the 
Satlila and given to the person who first meets 
the farmer on leaving his house.'' 

In some localities again, the farmer liolds 
the plough over the 'Salhia^ touching it with 
the end, eats a morsel of molasst;s, and bows to 
the Sat'liia before starting." 

As a rule, seed is not sown on Saturdays or 
Tuesdays. Wednesday is believed to be the 
most favourable day for this purpose.'' 



GEXERAL. 

Sowing is commenced from that corner of 
the field which has been pronounced by the 
astrcdoger to be the best for the operation.^ 

Sunday is believed to be the most auspicious 
diy for reaping.'^ VV'hile reaping, a part of 
the crop is offered to the image of Kshetrapal 
and to other village deities. In order to secure 
a good harvest, sweets are offered to the village 
gods on the eighth or tenth day of the bright 
half of A.iJivin or on the second day of the 
iiriglit half of Kfirtik which is called 
AnanakutaM 

No crop is brought into the house before a 
part of it has been offered to the local deities.^^ 

^^'hen juice is to be extracted from sugar- 
canes, the mill is first worshipped. In the 
shed erected for storing the jars of molasses, 
an image of Ganpati is installed, and worship- 
ped befor./ placing the jars in the shed.^- 

The first jar of molasses and two bits of 
sugar cane are offered to the local deities. i^ 

Before reaping cotton, offerings are made 
to the village gods.^ * 

When a cow or she-buffalo is about to calve 
a packet containing a few pebbles or cowries, 
the muli (red lead) from the image of Il.anu- 
man, dust collected from a place where four 
roads meet, and grains of A dad, are tied to its 
horns by an indigo-coloured thread, in the 
belief that this protects the animal from the 
effects of the evil eye.^' 

To guard cattle against an attack of small- 
pox, women observe a vow called iShili Satem 
on the Seventh day of the bright half of 



1 The School Master of Chhatrasa. 

3 The School Master of Devalia. 

5 The School Master of Jetpur. 

" The School Master of Ginod. 

3 The School Master of Jodia. 
'1 The School Masters of Zinzuvfida and Devalia. 
»3 The School Master of Bhayavadar. 
''' The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
* See p.l4 Supra 



- The School Master of Vanod. 
* The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
'' The School Master of Jetpur. 
» Mr. K. D. Desai. 
w The School Master of Movaiya. 
12 The School Master of Luvaria. 
i-l The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 
"i The School Master of Vanod. 



151 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



To prevent a tiger from attacking cattle, a 
circle of the flour of charonthi is drawn round 
tlieui by an exorcist reciting mantras or incan- 
tations. If a tiger tries to enter this protected 
area its mouth at once becomes swollen.^ 

In some places, salt heated over the fire of 
the HoU is put into tlie food given to the cattle 
in the belief that this protects them from 
disease.* 

Instead of , salt, some people gi^ e cattle leaves 
of castor-oil plants roasted over the fire of 
the Holi.^ 

In some places, on the Divuii Iioliday, a 
torch and a rice pounder are placed in the 
cattle shed, and the cattle are made to cross 
them one by one. This process is believed to 
protect them from disease.' 

A ceremony called the Doio of Mahiidev is 
also performed in the month of Shravan to 
protect cattle against disease.''' 

Vows in the honour of Aslipal or Nagdev 
are also observed for the protection of cattle." 

In the Hasta nakshatra during the monsoon, 
when there is a thunder storm, a samhelu (rice 
pounder) is struck seven times against the 
main cross beam of the house in the belief that 
the sound thus produced destroys insects.^ 

To scare the insects called itidio, vows are 
observed in honour of the Itidio Pir.** 

In order that insects and worms may not spoil 
the corn stored in a granary or in earthen jars, 
the ashes of the fire of the Holi or leaves of 
the n'lm tree are mixed with it. 

To prevent insects from spoiling wlieat. 
bajari and juvdri^ mercury and ashes are put 
into them, while it is believed that gram cannot 
be eaten by insects if it is mixed with dust 
from a pl^ee where tliree roads meet.'* 



To drive away insects, a ceremonj' called 
Adagho Badagho or Marii/un is performed on 
the Divali holiday. It is as foUows : — 

One m;in holds a lighted torch in his hand, 
and another an earthen jar, which he beats 
with a small stick. The two men pass 
through ever}" nook and corner of the house 
and the cattle-shed crying " /if/flg/io may go, 
Badagho may go "', that is, " May troubles and 
diseases disappear ; m:iy bugs, serpents, mice, 
scorpions, mosquitoes and otlier insects die 
out." Next they proceed, repeating the same 
words, through the streets to the village 
boundary, where the torch, the earthen jar 
and the stick are thrown aw.iy, thus ending 
the ceremonj'.^" 

In order to secure sunshine aiul favourable 
weather, oblations are offered to the local 
deities, sacrificial offerings are made and 
bunting is suspended from the doors of 
temples. ^^ 

In order to secure a favourable rainfall, a 
grand festival is observed on an auspicious 
day. On this day all agricultural work is 
stopped and megh laddus (sweet balls called 
megli or cloud) are eaten by the people. '^ 

In some places, for the protection of the 
crops, a thread charmed by the incantations of 
an exorcist is passed round the hedge of the 
field.i" 

For the protection of croj^s of gram, wheat 
and sugar-cane against injury by rats, a 
ceremony caWcd Dddh Bdndhavi is performed, 
in which a thread over wliieh incantations 
have been repeated by an exorcist is i>assed 
round the croj), and an image of Ganpati is 
installed and worshipped with ofl'erings of 
sweet balls of wheat flour.^^ 



1 The School Master of Click. 

5 The School Master of Chhatrfisa. 

5 The School Master of Pfitan \'av. 

^ The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

3 The School Master of Sanka. 

" The School Master of KotJa Sangtn'. 

" The School Master of Dhank. 



- The School Master of Devalia. 

4 The School Master of Jetpur. 

s The School Master of Moti Marad. 

8 The School Master cf Praaii Vav. 

1' M ■. K. D. Desai. 

12 Tiie School Master of Vanod. 

1' The School Master of Ganod. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



155 



In some places, the ceremony of Dddh 
Bundhavi is performed somewhat differently. 
Instead of passing a thread round the field, 
the exorcist walks round tlie field repeating 
incantations, holding in his hand a pot con- 
taining tire, over wliich is placed a pan con- 
taining Gugal. This ceremony is generally 
performed for the protection of sugar-cane 
crops against the attacks of jackals. It is 
believed that an animal entering the field 
after the performance of this ceremony has 
its dddh. (gums) stiffened.^ 

Silence and secrecy are considered essential 
in working mystic lore, for it is a belief that 
if learnt openly such lore loses its power. ^ 

The ceremony for obtaining command over 
K;"il Bhairav is performed in perfect silence 
at midnight on the Kdlichaudas, that is the 
fourteenth day of the dark half of Ashvin."' 

.Silence and secrecy are also essential in 
the ceremonies which are performed for sub- 
jugating such evil spirits as Meldi and 
Shikotar and Matas.' 

When Vaishnavas make offerings to their 
gods, the doors of the shrine are closed. 

The initiating ceremonies of tiie Shakti 
Panthis and Margi Panthis arc also performed 
in close secrecJ^" 

The Shravaks have to observe perfect 
silence at the time of performing the Shdmag 
Padakamanu^ (a form of devotion to god). 

Some people observe a vow of keeping silent 
while taking their meals either for life or 
during the monsoon.'' 

There are various legends current among 
<he people regarding the origin of the Holi 
holiday. The chief versions are as follows: — 

1. In ancient times there lived a demoness 
named Dhunda who preyed upon children. 
Her misdeeds caused great misery to the 
people, who went to Vasishtha, the preceptor 

i The School Master of Chhatrasa. 
3 The School Mister of Vanod. 
5 The School Master of Devalia 
' The School Master of Ganod 



of Rama, and implored him to tell them of 
some remedy for the mischief wrought by the 
demoness. Vasishtha told them to lig-Jit a 
pyre in honour of the goddess Holika, which 
he said, would consume the demoness. The 
people accordingly lighted a huge fire, into 
which the demoness was driven by boys wh'o 
led her to the spot by abusing her and 
troubling her in many ways. She was reduced 
to ashes by the tire, and the people were 
saved.'* 

2. A demon named Hiraniaksha had a 
sister named Holika and a son named 
Prahlad. Hiranifiksha bore great enmity to 
Rama, wliile Prahlad was his devotee. Hira- 
niaksha did not like liis son s devotion to 
Rama, and told him several times to give it 
up, and even threatened to take his life. 
But Prahlad did not swerve an inch from 
the path of his devotion. At last, being 
desperate, Hiraniaksha decided to kill him, 
and entrusted his sister wiUi the mission. 
Holika raised a big pile of cow-dung cakes, 
set it on tire, and seated herself on the pile, 
taking Prahlad in her lap. But through the 
grace of Rama, Prahlad escaped uninjured 
while Holika was reduced to ashes. 

3. A demoness called Dhunda had 
obtained a boon from Shiva to the effect 
that she would not meet her death during 
any of the three seasons of the year, either 
by day or by night. At the same time she 
was warned to beware of injury from 
children between sunset and nightfall at 
the commencement of a new season. To 
prevent any possibility of injury from child- 
ren, she began to destroy them by preying 
upon their bodies. This caused a great panic 
among the people, who went to Vasishtha and 
asked his advice as to how to kill the demo- 
ness. He advised them to kill her in the way 



» The School Master of Kotda Sangani. 

4 The School Master of Dadvi. 

« The School Master of Limbdi. 

8 The School Masters of Dhank and Ganod. 



156 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



described in legend Xo. I above, and she was 
iiilled accordingly.* 

4. The Govardlian mountain had two 
sisters named Holi iiul Divali. Holi was a 
woman of bad coiidin t while Divali's charac- 
ter was good. Although unchaste, Holi 
boasted that she was chaste, and once, to 
]>rove her chastity, she threw herself on to ;i 
big fire. She could not bear tlie pain caused 
by the flames, and began to scream aloud, 
wlien people beat drums, abused her, and 
raised such a din that her scream.s became 
inaudible. Hence the custom of using 
abusive language and reciting abusive verses 
during the Holi Iiolidivs. Govardhan could 
not bear the disgrace attached to liis sister's 
reputation. So he threw himself into the 
fire and met his death without uttering a 
word of pain. This has given rise to the 
custonx of throwing into biie Holi fire the 
cow-dung image of Govardlian, whicli is 
installed during tiie Divali holidays. - 

On the Holi day sweet dishes are pre" 
pared and taken with the morning meal. 
Some women observe a vow on this day, and 
dine once only in tiie evening, after worshipp- 
ing the Holi fire with an oifering of a 
cocoanut and walking seven times round it." 

In some places, on the day preceding tlie 
//o//, which is known as Kamala Holi^ sweet 
stuffed cakt-s are prepared, and on the Holi 
Punema day vermicelli is eaten.^ 

The fuel for the Holi fire is generally 
collected by boys. At about two in the 
afternoon on the Holi day a party of boys 
goes from house to house and receive five to 
fifteen cow-dung cakes from each household. 
These cow-dung cakes are bored, and strung 
on strings.'' 



Tin- fuel thus collected is heaped at the 
village boundary or th<' end of tlie street. 
AH the male residents of tlie village or street 
meet at the spot, a pit is dug, and earthen 
pots filltd with wheat, gram .md water mixed 
logetlier .ire placed in tlie pit and covered 
with cow-dung cakes. Next, the headman of 
the village or the leading resident of tlie 
street worships the pile with the assistance of 
a lirrdiman priest. After worshij), tlic jiile 
is lighted, at the time fixed by an astrologer,* 
by .1 low c.isle Hindu, generally a Bhangi or 
Kolwfd, .-IS Hindus of good caste consider it a 
sin to kindle the Holi fuel. The Bhangi or 
Kotwal receives a few dates and cocoanut 
kernel for this service.'' 

Tlif ()ff"erings thrown inlo thi Holi fire 
geiiirally consist of fried juvtiri grain, fried 
gram and cocoanuts. Flowers of mango trees 
and tender mango fruits are also thrown 
into til- Holi fire. It is believed that newly 
marri(d pairs, by worsliipping the Holi fire, 
are blessed with long life, jirosperity, and the 
birth of children. After the principal cere- 
mony is over, they worship it one bj' one witli 
the ends of their upper garments tied in a knot, 
and walk seven times round tiie fire with their 
hands folded, the husband leading the wife." 

Infants dressed in gay clothes and decked 

witli garlands of dr}' dates and bits of cocoanut 

kernel are also taken to tlie Holi fire by their 

parents. Tlie latter worship the Holi Mat i 

and walk four times round the fire, takino- the 

c 

children in their arms. Next they offer cocoanuts- 
to the goddess, which are either tlirown into the 
fire or d stributed among those present.'* 

Women whose children die in infancy observe 
a vow of remaining standing on the Holi day. 
When the Holi is lighted they worship the fire, 
after which they may sit down and take their 



i The School Mistress, li^irton Female Training College, Kajkot. 

- Mr. K. D. Desai. 3 The School Master of Vanod. 

1 The School Master of Moti Khiroli. •' The School Masters of Ulu'mk and Songadh. 

* This is generally in the evening or an hour or two after nightfall. 

I" The School Masters of Zinzuviida and Moti Marnd, ' The School Masters of Dhank and Vanod. 

' The School Master of Chhatrasa. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



157 



meal. It is brlieved that the observance of this 
vow ensures long life to children.^ 



cords in their hands. This struggle commences 

at 10 A. M. on the Dhuleti day and continues 

Although the Holi itself falls on the full-moon till one o'clock in the morning on the following 

day of FiVgun the rejoicings connecttd with it I day. At last tile men succeed in carrying away 

commence from the first day of that month. I the jjost, thus ending the game."' 



Tile principal feature of tlie rejoicings consists 
in indulging in indecent and vulgar songs and 
language. Vulgar songs or fUg-i in honour 
of the goddess Holi are also sung. Songs 
are composed abusing each caste, and sung 
addressing passers by, by groups of boys who 
have full license during the Holi holidays to 
indulge in ail sorts of pranks and abuses. 

Some make wooden blocks with engravings 
of vulgar and indecent words, dip them in 
coloured water, and press them on the clothes 
of passers by. 

Others make naked idols of mud, and place 
them on the tops of houses. - 

Tiie day foUowing the Holi is known as 
Dhul Pudavo or Dhulcti. On this day people 
indulge in the tin-owing of cow-dung, black 
pigments, urine, mud, coloured water and red 
powder.^ 

In some places, on the Dhuleti day, a game 
is play id witli a cocoanut. The players form 
themselves into two parties and stand ojiposite 
to one anather. Midway between them is placed 
a cocoanut. Each party tries to take away the 
cocoanut, and prevents the other from so doing 
by throwing stones and cow-dung cakes. The 
party which succeeds in taking away the 
cocoanut wins the game.'' 

Amongst Dheds, Kolis, Ravals and other low 
castes a post of the wood of the tamarind tree 
is planted in the ground and surrounded by 
women holding whips and cords in their liands. 
A party of men run to the women to drive them 
away and take possession of the post. The 
women prevent them from doing so by striking 
them with all their might with the whips and 



In some places, a man is tied to a bier as if 
he were a corpse, and carried on the slioiilders 
of f(uir men to the post of tamarind wood,, 
followed by a party of men and women wailing 
aloud, to the great merriment of the crowd 
assembled near the post to witness the struggle 
described above.' 

Sometimes contests are held between two 
parties of boys in singing vulgar songs. The 
contest commences by one of the parties singing 
a song. The other party responds to it by 
singing another song, which is generally more 
indecent than the song sung first. The 
contest goes on like this, and the party which 
fails to respond to its rival is said to be 
defeated. 5 

Tiie immoral practices described above are 
only to be seen among low caste people, and 
even their women take part in these practices. 

The women of higher castes wear rich clothes 
and ornaments on the Dhuleti day, and sing 
songs in their houses. At times they throw 
coloured water and red powder at each other." 

In big temples a festivity called Ful Dol is 
observed, in wliich water coloured M-ith the 
flowers of the Khdkhra (Butea frondosa) is 
thrown by the party assembled, and kundalids 
or indecent songs are sung in a loud voice. ^ 

In some temples, holy songs are sung at night 
and prayers are held. At the end, fried juvdri^ 
gram and sweets are distributed as the grace 
of God.s 

The boys who take an active part in the Holi 
celebrations are known as geraiyds or holias. 
For two or three nights before the Holi they 
steal fuel for the Holi fire a:id beat and abuse 



' The School Master of Todia. 
3 The School Master of Kolki. 
5 The School Master of Todia. 
' The School Master of Luvaria. 



- The School Master of Songadh. 

* The School Masters of Zinzjvadaand Todia. 

'' The School Mistress, Barton Female Training College, Rajkot. 

' The School Master of Todia. 



158 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



those who try to prevent thcin from so doing. 
They also recite coarse songs and play witii 
dirt and mud freely. Parties of them go from 
shop to shop and obtain by force dates and 
fried gram.^ 

At uiidniglil of tlu- IltAi day a bow( r is 
erected in the centre of the village witli bits of 
hroken earthen vessels and cocoanut shells. A 
fool, generally a son-in-law of some low caste 
Hindu in the vill.ige, is induced, by the promise 
of dates and cocoanut kernel, to dress in a coat 
on which arc drawn naked pictures. A garland 
of worn out shoes is tied round his neck and l;e 
is mounted on a donkey. He is tiun called 
Valain and taken from the bower through tlie 
village accomjjanied with music and crowds of 
people, who utter in a loud voice coarse aud 
vulgar expressions as the procession moves 
on. At time? tliey play jokes with the I'alam^ 
and give him blows on the head with their 
fists.2 

In some ])l;!ees, this j)roC( ssion is called 
Valama Vcilami and is celebrated on the niglit 
preceding the Iloli. Two poor stupid persons 
are dressed as bride and bridegroom, the latter 
in a ridiculously grotesque dress. They are 
married on the following morning, when vulgar 
songs are sung. The J'alam and J'alami are 
represented by two naked idols, made of rags, of 
a man and a woman. They are carried tlirough 
the village in a noisy procession and married on 
an altar of black earthen vessels. They are 
then placed erect on two wooden posts side by 
side.^ 

In some villages, a large stone is placed in a 
s))aeious compound in the centre of the village, 
and broken earthen vessels are suspended over 
it with cords from the wooden bower erected 
over the stone. An ass is brought to the spot, 

' The School Master of Patan Vav. 
' The School Master of Kolki. 
5 The School Master of Todia, 



and a fool di ek( d with a garland of worn out 
shoes is mounted on it with his face turned 
towards the tail of the ass. He holds the tail 
of the ass in his hands as reins and is carried 
in procession through the village to be brought 
b;iek to the bower and married to another fool, 
dust, ashes and water being freely used in the 
service.'' 

In some localities naked images of a husband 
and wife are set in a cart and taken through 
the village accompanied with music, the crowd 
singing indecent songs all the way long.'" 

On the Iluli holiday children are presented 
with hnrda (garlands of balls made of sugar) 
by their relatives and the friends of their 
families." 

The IIoll fire is extinguished by wouku en 

the morning of the following day. The earthen 

I vessels containing wheat and gram which are 

j put into the pit of the Holi before the fire is 

I lighted are thtn taken out. The grain is cooked 

' by the fire' of Iloli^ and is called Ghugari. It 

is distributed among the villagers, the belief 

being fliat those who eat it are protected against 

disease by the goddess of the Holi.'' 

There are many other sujjerstitious beliefs 
! held by people in connection with the Iloli. 

According to one belief, those who expose 
I themselves to the lit at of tie Holi fire' keep 
good health during the ensuing year. According 
to some, this can be secured by eating sugar-cane 
heated over the fire. Jurdri stems heated over 
the fire are given to cattle with tlie same 
object.^ 

Some believe that if salt lieated over the Holi 
fire is given to cattle it protects thim against 
epidemics.^ 

Virgins lake home a little of the Holi fire 
and light five cow-dung cakes with it in the 



2 The School Masters of Ganod, Vanod and Dhank. 
« The School Mistress, Barton Female Training 
College, Rajkot. 



The School Master of Songadh and Mr. K. D. Desai 



" The School Master of Patan Viiv. 



8 The School Master of Songadh. 



THE FOLKLORE OF GUJARAT 



159 



courtyard of their house. When the cakes are 
burnt, the ashes are removed and the spot is 
purified with a piaster of cow-dung. Next, 
they draw some auspicious figures on the spot 
and worship them for a number of days in tlie 
belief that this ensures good health to their 
brothers.^ 

Among Gujarat Hindus no special ceremonies 
are performed when a girl attains puberty, 
except that on the third or fifth day she is bathed 
by an unwidowed woman and dressed in green 
or saft'ron-coloured robes. She is given rice 
in milk, sweetened with sugar, and is presented 
with a piece of green satin. 2 

In some places, the girl is bathed on the 
fourth day and given kansdr to eat. She then 
bows to her mother-in-law and makes her a pre- 
sent of half a rupee. The mother-in-law blesses 
her and presents her with a bodice cloth.^ 

After the bath, a mark with red powder is 
made on her forehead and she is taken to the 
temple of the family deity. ^ 



In some places, the red powder mark is made 
under the girFs right arm in the belief that this 
ensures to Jier the birth of many children. ^ 

In some localities the girl is bathed on the 
third day, dainty dishes are served lier, and she 
is presented with a cocoanut by eacli of her 
kinsfolk" 

In some castes, when a girl attains puberty, 
a feast of cooked rice and molasses is given to 
the caste people. In otlier castes, pieces of 
cocoanut kernel are distributed among children, 
and the girl is presented witli a robe and bodice 
by her parents-in-law.^ 

In some castes, a girl is not allowed to cook 
before she attains puberty.* 

No ceremonies are performed when a boy 
attains puberty, probably because in the case 
of boys the cliange is not so marked as in the 
case of girls. 



1 The School Master of Khirasira. 
5 The School Master of VanafJ. 
5 The School Mister of Chjk. 
7 Xne S-hool Mister of Chhitrasi. 



2 The School Mister of Dhank. 

* Tiie School Mister of Dadvi 

'^ The School Mistress of Barto.i Female Training College, Hiijkct. 

■■! The School Mister of Uptela. 



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